Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy 200th Anniversary!

Jane Austen began writing the novel which later became Pride and Prejudice in October of 1796 and finished it by August of the following year; she was twenty-one years old. Little is known of this early version of the story beyond its original title:  First Impressions. No copy of that original is known to exist.  Three months after Miss Austen completed work on the book, her father offered it to a publisher in the hope that it would make it into print.  The publisher refused without ever having seen the manuscript.

Fortunately for all of her admirers, whether Austen was discouraged or not by her first rejection, she continued to write; though, it was not until the winter of 1811, fourteen years after finishing First Impressions, that she again picked up that manuscript and began revising it into the version we know today as Pride and Prejudice. This occurred in the wake of her first publishing success--  her novel Sense and Sensibility was published 30 October 1811.  Pride and Prejudice was far more fortunate than its earlier incarnation; it was accepted for publication and was presented to the world on 28 January 1813.

The works of Jane Austen continue inspiring other authors and many devoted fans.  You can view a list of Austen-inspired titles at goodreads:  http://goodreads.com/shelf/show/jane-austen-inspired

Visit the Pride and Prejudice display at the Al Harris Library and examine many resources that are related to Austen's great work.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A young boy grows up in a time of segregation and is moved by destiny into leadership of the modern civil rights movement.  This young boy was Martin Luther King, Jr.

During his lifetime, King demonstrated his abilities as a leader. He was an American clergyman, an activist, and a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  He authored five major books and hundreds of articles and speeches. His principal accomplishment was to raise the hopes of Black Americans and to bind them in effective direct-action campaigns that advanced civil rights by using nonviolent civil disobedience.

The theme of nonviolence that runs throughout his career left a decisive mark on American and world history. King's dream of a peaceful world has inspired many. His activism played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. He was also a major voice in the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the age of thirty-five, he became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers, he was assassinated. The work he courageously began was then left for others to continue.

In 1983, Congress passed a law designating the third Monday in January a national holiday in his honor. Dr. King's legacy can be celebrated by participation in a National Day of Service.  No matter where people are in America, they have an opportunity to join this effort and serve their communities.

Visit National Day of Service website for more information. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Octavia Butler: Genius Writer

Octavia Butler (b. 22 June 1947 – d. 24 February 2006), is an American science-fiction author. Ms. Butler was one of the most thoughtful authors of her time. One of the few black writers in the science-fiction field, she took full advantage of the speculative freedom that the genre allows writers to explore her interest in sociology, biology, race relations, American history, and the future of humanity. The first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Ms. Butler was outspoken advocate for imaginative and speculative fiction. Listen to an interview with Octavia Butler and visit the library to view her display and find  available works, here at the Al Harris Library.