June 27th, 2005

leonard cohen

ALA

Had the pleasure of going to the ALA (That's American Library Association) conference here in Chicago at McCormick Place yesterday.

In the morning I went to a workshop on Non-Fiction Reader's Advisory where I learned a myriad of ways of promoting the reading of non-fiction in libraries. I had the pleasure of sitting next to the legendary Joyce Saricks. Now that name probably doesn't mean much to those outside of public libraries but Saricks is considered to be THE authority on reader's advisory.

Then in the afternoon I went to a "Chicago Writers" Forum. Now I didn't research who was going to be there so I was bowled over when I walked into the room and saw

Studs Terkel

Alex Kotlowitz AND

Sara Paretsky sitting at the table.

It was a wonderful panel to say the least. Studs has got to be close to 90 and still sharp as a tack. I would like to have half of his passion and intellect NOW let alone when I get older. He even has a book And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey coming out this fall. It's a collection of his interviews with musicians. I think I've read nearly all the Turkel's books. My favorite is Working a collection of interviews with people of several dozen different professions.

Kotlowitz and Paretsky were all also excellent although they (as well as the rest of the room) were in awe of Studs. Kotlowitz is the writer of among other things, There Are No Children Here an amazing book about the lives of two young boys growing up in public housing in Chicago. I believe Oprah made it into a TV movie but go ahead and read it anyways.

I was introduced to Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski series during my Reader's Advisory class in library school. Paretsky tells the dark tales of the gritty streets of Chicago. My favorite of her books is Blacklist.