Multnomah County Libraries host a variety of children’s storytimes across their neighborhood libraries. They typically include stories read aloud, singing/fingerplays, and sometimes a craft or other activity. You can find storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kids with sensory challenges (kids who have a hard time with noises or textures or proximity to others, or kids who need to be movingmovingmoving all the time, etc). You can also find storytimes presented in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Russian. Most storytimes are presented regularly – weekly, monthly, or whatever. Check the website or with your library for the schedules.
The invitation read something like this:
I want to do more reading, and I want to do more socializing. But Book Club is too haaard! I don’t have time to read a whooole book! Talking about books for two hours is boooring!
Let’s read a short story then watch a movie based on it instead!
Read the story ahead of time. Then come over and hang out with us. I’ll have something dinner-like available. Feel free to bring food/drink to share as well, if you like.
The emphasis was on the social aspect – the short story and movie give us a reason to get together and stuff to talk about.
This month’s story & movie was Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
While I’d seen parts of the movie, I’d never read the story. In fact, I’ve never read any Truman Capote before this. I got the four-story collection from the library and read it all. While the writing it good, I can’t say I’m dying to read more of it. Maybe it’s a matter of cultural shifts and no-longer-relevant references. It was hard to get past the overt racism of several characters. I may try to read “In Cold Blood” just because.
No one else in the group had watched the movie before, so we’re all watching it several decades after it was made. Again, lots of no-longer-relevant cultural references, lots of cultural shifts.
We were all properly horrified by Mickey Rooney’s character, found everyone else in the movie pretty much unsympathetic, pondered whether Marilyn Monroe (Truman Capote’s choice for the lead) would have been a better choice than Audrey Hepburn, wondered why Hannibal Smith was in this movie without the rest of the A-Team, were glad to have seen it for the overall cultural reference, loved pretty much all of Audrey Hepburn’s clothing, and we thought Cat was easily the best actor. We had a great time talking about the differences between the story and the movie, and which movies and stories these reminded us of. Also: what genre is this movie? Definitely not a romance. Redemption? Drama? Screwball drama?
Dinner was chicken enchiladas (per “chicken and sauce” in the movie) and margaritas (just because).
And of course, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for two weeks straight.
The next Short Story and Movie night is already scheduled!
I ran across a piece a few months ago about short story dispensers, made and distributed by the French company, Short Édition. Yes, short stories dispensed by a machine – for free. You can choose between stories that take about 1 minute, 3 minutes, or 5 minutes to read.
After tucking away the bookmark to that article somewhere safe, I promptly forgot about it till today.
I looked up the company’s website. You don’t even have to find a dispensing machine to read the short stories – you can read them on the website if you want, or even have them emailed to you!
I’d love to find a dispensing machine in person. Unfortunately, there’s none near me. I checked the map pretty carefully. And what little travel I’ve got planned so far doesn’t take me near any machines either.
If anyone is interested in a short story machine, they’re looking for hosts- looks like it could possibly be a good bit of advertising for a business or organization as well. They can help customize the collection of stories to fit your purpose too – feature local-ish authors, have a hotel dispense bedtime stories, a school or youth-oriented business/organization could feature children’s stories, and so on. You’ll have to go to the Public Library Association’s website for specifics.
It also looks like Short Édition is working on how to have English-speaking authors be able to submit their work for consideration – watch the website for more information.
disclaimer – I have no affiliation with Short Édition or any of it’s machine hosts. I just think this is an awesome idea, and I hope more organizations will choose to host these or something similar.
While going through the stash of donations, I noticed there were a number of books that had been turned into movies. Cold, blustery nights seem like a great time to curl up with warm drinks, warm blankets, good books, and good movies.
Whether you read the book first or watch the movie first – that is a good question. None of the books in this collection are new – they’ve all been out as both books and movies for a while. But maybe you haven’t seen the movie yet. Woo! You still have a chance to read the book first! Maybe you have already seen the movie. You can still read the book, then watch the movie again!
Here are some of the book/movie tie-ins featured this month in the Division92 Little Free Library:
Great Expectations, Kite Runner, Sense & Sensibility, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Girl on the Train, Under the Tuscan Sun, Up in the Air
Which books have you already read? Which movies have you already seen?
Listen to the podcast Book Vs Movie
Especially relevant to writers – 5 Important Ways Storytelling is Different in Books vs Movies
A blog breaking down individual book/movie pairs – Book vs Movie
What book/movie pairs did you love both of? What pairs did you like or love one but not the other? I really like the movie Bladerunner, and I wasn’t nearly so crazy about the story. I also saw the movie first, so that may have something to do with it. I loved Wizard of Oz as a book, and while I liked the movie, I’ve never really re-watched it. I enjoyed reading Romeo and Juliet in a high school English class – I really liked the class, so that made it even easier to enjoy reading the play. I watched the movie, with Olivia Hussey in class at the end of the R&J unit, with the requisite class discussion afterward, so I was predisposed to enjoy that whole activity as well.
Are you more of a read-the-book-before-watching-the-movie sort of person or more of a doesn’t-matter-whichever-opportunity-comes-up-first sort of person? Let us know in the comments!
Rebecca Elder, of one of the Little Free Library Stewards pages on Facebook, created this Reading Challenge. Some of the challenges are about choosing books, some are about giving away books, and some are about Little Free Libraries. Thanks, Rebecca!
Two book-related items in the latest issue of Portland Monthly magazine!
Mention of the Rose City Book Pub
And the “not so private library” at The Nines hotel, downtown
If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate books into your holiday celebrations, here are a few fun ideas. Some of these may require DIY work (although many can also be found on Etsy). Some will be great for your kids to help you make.
These ideas are but the tip of the snowflake; if you have other ideas for making your holiday more literary, please share in the comments below!
1. Books As Gifts
This is probably the most straightforward idea. There is a book out there for pretty much everyone, even if they’re not readers. You can create a themed gift around a book: a cookbook with an oven mitt, cookie cutters, and cookie sheet; a photography book with a memory card and gift card to print photos; a picture book with a coordinating stuffed animal. Use your imagination! You could also do a book swap in place of Secret Santa or host a book swap party with your friends.
2. Book Advent Calendar
I saw this idea online and started doing it for my twins. Choose 24 books, wrap them, and stack them. Have your child choose one every night in December leading up to Christmas. You can use all holiday/winter themed books or not. You don’t have to buy all new books; I mostly use books we already own. I try to put The Night Before Christmas at the bottom and save it for December 24.
3. Eight Nights of Books
You can also adapt the above idea for Hanukkah, doing one book for each of the eight nights.
4. Books As a Christmas Tree
Grab a bunch of books and stack them up so that they look like a Christmas Tree! You can place a star on top or use a book propped up as a topper. This will save you money on a tree and the trimmings, as well as being environmentally friendly. Note: This idea is better for those with older children, or you may find your baby/toddler constantly pulling out books. For a smaller tree, you can open books and stack them with the widest at the bottom.
5. Ornaments, Ornaments, Ornaments
There are a quite a few ways to decorate your tree with bookish flair. Here are a few ideas:
- Cut the pages of an old book into strips. Grab some clear ball ornaments. Open the top, and curl some of the strips of type inside. Close up and hang on the tree.
- Make your favorite characters or authors into ornaments. This is a great craft to do with your kids using paper or felt.
- Print out mini covers and glue them onto cardboard or thick card stock. Your kids can also help with this.
- You can also create garland with some of these ideas (made by stringing book covers/characters/authors together).
6. Wrapping Presents
You can add a bookish aesthetic under your tree with how your wrap your presents. Wrap in monogram colors that have a library/old book appeal (think burgundy, brown, and cream colored papers without shine). Then, print out a paragraph or quote from the wrapped book (or snap a photo) and tape it to the outside. Find wrapping paper with books, book titles, authors, etc. as the print (these can be found at bookstores and on Etsy). Etsy is also a great resource for book washi tape, which you could use in conjunction with single-color paper. There are tutorials online to make bows from book pages. Bonus points for using books such as A Christmas Carol for any of these!
7. Bookmarks As Holiday Cards
Rather than sending out holiday cards, make bookmarks! You could still use a family photo, but also include a quote from a book.
8. Adopt Iceland’s Tradition
In Iceland, most people receive a book as a gift on Christmas Eve. The whole family then tucks into bed to read their new book that night.
It’s labeled “library”, but it sure looks like a bookstore. Either way, it’s a room PACKED with books, and the lights even work! I’m pretty sure you could adjust it so it feels more like one or the other. From the various reviews I found (Amazon, Fat Brain Toys), it looks like a lot of the items are made from paper, and the wiring for the chandelier is fairly delicate. It also looks like it will take about 20 hours to complete – and that’s depending on your patience as well as your skill levels. So maybe not the best kit for a kid. Being made primarily with paper products, I don’t know how how long it will last, either. It definitely won’t make it more than a few days in my house with my 3 rambunctious cats! Still, it’s awfully cute and could be a neat project to work on, by yourself or with a friend.
If you do end up buying one, please let me know what you think of it, even if you don’t get around to finishing it. I’m curious what the materials and the directions are really like, and how it all works.
Just a reminder – I do not have any affiliation with any businesses here – I just thought this looked like a bit of fun.
I might have to do this in my LFL one of these days. Just for a week or so, rotating the collections through at least a couple of colors, just to see what happens.