Tag Archives: book lover

A Book Lover in Chicago – Guest Blog by R. Hollingsworth

Book lovers in Chicago love Europa Books

My good friend Ralph Hollingsworth penned these words to share about his favorite reading haunts in the Windy City.  Ralph is a writer/creative director in Chicago, and he may be reached at ralph@ralphhollingsworth.com.

“I used to wonder about people who read books on the train or bus in Chicago. Their noses buried in a paperback, self-improvement guide or criminal romance novel, oblivious to the world and clatter around them, barely lifting their eyes past the tops of the pages as they squeeze through the turnstiles at the subway station, still reading. The El, I thought, is no place to read.

At the Old Town Ale House on North Avenue, there’s an informal lending library at the back of the bar, with a motley collection of dusty and tattered books: Politics, philosophy and Saul Alinsky, Clan of the Cave Bear and other Book-of-the-Month Club titles which were received but never opened, never read. The policy is “Take one, leave one.” Once I saw a book on rigging old sailboats. I took it. On long afternoons more than a few years ago, writers and artists would nurse pints and discuss politics, philosophy and Saul Alinsky. The bartender, her services only occasionally required, sat behind the bar reading.

I like After-Words bookstore on Illinois Street. It’s one of the few remaining independent bookstores in Chicago. They sell both new and used books, best-sellers and out-of-print books. The basement is a treasure cave. It’s the kind of place where you can pull a stack of books from the shelves and sit on the floor for hours. It’s authentic, not fabricated. There are no announcements read over the loudspeakers.

Sometimes, after finding books at After-Words, I’ll walk up State Street, stopping at Europa Books, a small bookstore that specializes in foreign language (mostly European) books and magazines. I’ll flip through a French magazine and pretend that it bores me. Then I’ll head over to the 3rd Coast Café on Dearborn and Goethe (which Chicago cabbies always pronounce as “Goath-y”). Like After-Words, it’s also independent. It’s been there as long as I can remember. I love sitting in the corner with a cup of coffee and a piece of flourless chocolate cake and reading through my new treasures. Surely a coffee house is a good place for readers in Chicago.

Not long ago while riding the Blue Line train to O’Hare, I looked over at an attractive young lady with an attractive ankle tattoo reading a well-worn and dog-eared copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the most important books in my own world. I travel with my well-worn and dog-eared copy and often read through it when I need ethereal substance. I was glad to see her and at the same time, ashamed of myself for having judged other mass-transit readers. It doesn’t matter where or what you read. Chicago is a good city for readers.”

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission to fund new libraries and other literacy programs in the developing world.

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E-Readers Creating Book Lovers in Kenya

Students in Kenya proudly display their new E-readers provided by Worldreader.org.

Worldreader is cracking the code for E-reader usage in Kenya.

If you’ve traveled in the developing world, or even in the most rural parts in the West, you know that cellphone technology is often more widely available than land-line communications.  It’s simply more affordable to build a cellphone tower than to hard-wire every building in town, resulting in cellphone usage that “leapfrogs” ahead of regular phones.

We’re starting to see the same thing happen with library construction in some parts of the developing world.  Although libraries and librarians are desperately needed throughout the developing world, in some cases E-readers can “leapfrog” the proliferation of the printed book.

It’s not that simple, of course, as language, technology, power-grid and many other issues pose significant barriers to the widespread usage of E-readers in the developing world.

Turning Kids into Book Lovers

But as you can read in this blogpost, non-profit Worldreader is starting to really tackle those challenges.

“Yesterday was the first day that I witnessed the kids getting to explore the e-readers on their own.  It was magical.”

As we say at GoneReading, more reading is always better, and Worldreader is absolutely getting it done by pushing the envelope and figuring out new ways to bring the magic of reading into the most underdeveloped corners of the world.

Just as in the developed world, the proliferation of E-readers only increases the need for libraries and librarians, it doesn’t replace them.  But E-readers can play an incredible complementary role, resulting in a sum that is greater than the parts.  Libraries + librarians + E-readers might just be the next killer app, so to speak.

Keep an eye on Worldreader.  I can assure you that GoneReading will be doing the same!

You can read more about Worldreader in eBookAnoid.

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Hey book lovers, flatter us by subscribing to this blog.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission to fund libraries and other literacy programs in the developing world.

5 Book Lover Role Models On TV

I’ve had this idea for a blog post for quite some time, but frankly it took a while to even find any book-lover role models on TV.  We stopped at five simply because we couldn’t think of any others.  If you think of any more, please send them our way!

So why aren’t there more such characters on TV?  Now that’s a very good question…  Post your thoughts by commenting below.

In No Particular Order…

Brick from The Middle

You’ve got to love Brick from The Middle, especially when contrasted against the sorry lot that is the Heck family.  Poor Brick goes almost completely unnoticed at home, but we’re pretty sure he’ll end up inventing flying cars or cold fusion.  Keep on reading Brick.  We hope you can survive the mediocrity around you!

Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In full disclosure let me say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite shows of all time.  Need I remind you that TV Guide once referred to Buffy as the “smartest show on television”.  Fans will remember that Giles’ erudition never failed to save the day with last minute demon-killing tips that would, literally, save the world.  Plus he looked really cool in tweed, and he had a hot girlfriend.

Rory from Gilmore Girls

Rory was rarely seen on Gilmore Girls without a book in hand, and her love of reading propelled her from the sleepy confines of Stars Hollow to a lofty career in journalism.  She seems to have started something of a frenzy in the blogosphere, too, with dozens of now-defunct blogs detailing everything she read on the show and more.  There was even something called the Rory Gilmore Book Project online at one point, but alas, it no longer exists.

President Bartlet from West Wing

He wasn’t often shown reading on West Wing – I suppose that wouldn’t make great television – but every episode was laced with literary quotes from President Bartlet, often from the Bible.  Let’s just hope you can’t actually become president, even a TV president, without a lot of reading in your life.

Sawyer from Lost

LOST might have concluded with a lot of questions unanswered, but one thing was perfectly clear: Tough-guy Sawyer loved to read.  Death-dealing smoke monsters and busted reading glasses couldn’t keep him away from his books for long.  And all that reading touched off a lot of on line chatter about book references on the show.  Check out this list of books from LOST, and the LOST Books Challenge.

Honorable mention: Captain Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek fame, and Lisa from The Simpsons.  Many thanks to our Facebook Fans for their contributions to this article.

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission to build libraries in the developing world!

Can Our Libraries Learn From the Developing World?

In Western society we tend to think we’ve got everything figured out, at least in relation to the developing world.  When it comes to funding libraries, that’s not exactly the case.

Eager young readers spend their Saturday in this rural village library in Nepal.

It won’t surprise readers to learn that many public libraries in the United States are fighting to protect their funding.  Book lovers will want to read more about the struggle for funding here.  The article points out that the library system in the U.S. was largely created by Andrew Carnegie through his massive philanthropic investments almost 100 years ago.

Carnegie helped build the library infrastructure, but the on-going operating costs – librarian salaries, new book purchases, utilities, etc. – of these libraries has been funded through tax dollars.  The scarcity of tax dollars now threatens many of those same libraries that Carnegie helped build.

As I learned during my recent trip to India and Nepal, however, there’s a much more sustainable model for library development.  Non-profit READ Global has spent the last 20 years helping to launch dozens of self-sufficient libraries in the poorest regions of the world.  Sounds counter-intuitive, right?

READ makes a significant investment to help launch and build each library.  However, at the same time it also helps the local community launch a grassroots business, with all profits going to fund 100% of each library’s costs moving forward.  Each such enterprise provides jobs and a needed service, creating a new cycle of economic growth in these tiny villages.

My wife Eileen greets the local textile workers in the READ library in Geejgarh, India. Their work funds the local library's operating expenses.

While visiting one such library in the rural hamlet of Geejgarh, India we met the staff of a mini textile factory operated within the local library.  Incredibly, they had just signed a contract with a major retailer to manufacture 50,000 cloth bags.  All profits are used to fund the local library’s operating costs in full, often creating a surplus.

While touring such libraries in rural Nepal we rode over a bridge that was actually funded by the local library association.  Yes, READ has created such an incredible model that their local library associations are now funding major community infrastructure projects.  Amazing.

Perhaps READ’s model, successfully tested for 20+ years in dozens of libraries across three countries, can now migrate to the West.

As you might expect, GoneReading has pledged its financial support to READ.  Click here to learn more about READ, and here to buy GoneReading apparel, gifts and merchandise.

P.S.  If you enjoyed this little article, please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/
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