Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reading Across Rhode Island

Those of you who read my book reviews may have noticed that I have mentioned Reading Across Rhode Island (RARI) a couple of times. (The quickly becoming famous) Anita asked me in a comment a couple of days ago if I would explain what RARI is. I realized after reading her comment that those of you who don't live in RI (and possibly some of you who do) may not know what the heck I'm talking about. Reading Across Rhode Island is a project of Rhode Island Center for the Book (at the Providence Public Library), whose goal is to promote literacy for all Rhode Islanders. The idea of the RARI organization is to choose one book a year, promote it through all the state public and school libraries and encourage everyone in RI to read that book. Hence the slogan - one book, one state, literally. Each year the book is announced to the public in January. In addition, an official launch conference is held in which the author comes and gives a talk and participants can participate in workshops relating to promoting the book, book clubs, topics covered in the book, etc. The launch conference is open to the public, but typically it is attended mainly by librarians and teachers. As a matter of fact, you have this year's conference to blame for this very blog. One of the workshops I attended was titled - Blogging: what it is and should I do it? I attended that particular workshop because my boss had asked me to write a book review blog for the library. Pam's Perspective was my "training blog" so that I could get my feet wet before publishing a "professional" blog. Ha! Anyway, I'm rambling again.

Back to RARI...

This year marks the 7th year for RARI and the book chosen was Five Skies by Ron Carlson. You can read my review of Five Skies here. And it's the first year that my teeny, tiny library has presented any programs promoting this event. That would be the book club discussion that I ran last week. And next weekend, I will be attending the culminating event for this year's book - the May breakfast held at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, a large banquet facility in Cranston, RI. This event drew 800 (I think) people last year and it was the first year I attended. At the May breakfast, the author again comes to RI and does a reading, gives a talk and takes questions. Last year I attended this event with Sandy and Colleen (two women from my personal book club, Chapter Chat. Hi ladies!). This year I will be attending with 7 other women - 3 from Chapter Chat (including Sandy and Colleen) and 4 from my library book club - Books on Main. It's sure to be a great event! From the launch conference I already know that Ron Carlson is an engaging speaker. Plus he's very easy on the eyes. Oops, I'm digressing again.

For all you bookworms out there, here is a list of the 6 other RARI books:

2003 – Wish You Well, by David Baldacci

2004 – Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

2005 – Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

2006 – Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson

2007 - The Memory of Running, by East Providence native, Ron McLarty

2008 - Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

In case you are wondering, I have read all of these books with the exception of Shadow Divers. If you haven't read Kite Runner or Water for Elephants, I highly recommend them! I'll be sure to let you all know how the May breakfast goes next Saturday. I'm sure you will be hearing more about RARI in the coming months as I am actually serving on the nominating committee for the 2010 book selection! So, many of the books that I will reviewing between now and August will be RARI 2010 nominees. This is my first year to serve on this committee and I'm not sure yet if these nominees are top secret, but if I get the OK, I will be sure to let you know which books are up for consideration. And, if you know of a great book, you can nominate it on the RARI website linked above. How cool would that be - to know that YOU are the one who recommended the book that the whole (itty bitty) state of RI was going to read? Awesome, right? So go ahead, nominate a book or two or three. I know you want to....


Tammy Howard said...

This is such a cool project!

Your passion comes through in your writing, for sure.

I LOVED The Kite Runner and Water for Elephants.

So this is just a practice blog, eh? Well played!

Anita said...

I am so impressed that RI has such a cool project! Florida has done childrens literature initiatives, but nothing like this. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, but haven't read The Kite Runner yet, I have heard great things about it.
As for the practice blog, I think you got it down now!!!
Thank you for sharing Pam, I will check out the website.

Pam said...

Tammy - Thanks for you kind words. Since you've already read Water for Elephants and Kite Runner, I have another recommendation. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Excellent.

Anita - Kite Runner is excellent, but I actually liked A Thousand Splendid Suns better.

As for my practice blog, well I think I've got it pretty much figured out. Except for the technical stuff. I actually have started the library blog as well, but it's not nearly as fun. Just book reviews (all of which show up here as well) and no fun sidebars or fun posts. All business. This one is much better. But at least I figured out all the "technical" stuff here first. Or at least as much as I need to get a post up every now and then. LOL!

Terra said...

Water for Elephants was AWESOME, I also like the Kite runner but since I have not read the rest...I am glad I live in Colorado! What a great program and so cool that you are involved in your community!

C said...

That's such a cool project! I wish other states would do the same thing, I'm always for promoting reading for pleasure!

Pam said...

Terra - I don't think you should worry too much about not having read the others. None were all that wonderful, plus you read LOTS of other great books.

C - I'm all about reading for pleasure, too!


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