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Last chance to make a 2013-2014 Go Big Read suggestion!

What is she reading? (That mouse wants to know, too!)

This week is your last chance to nominate books for the 2013-2014 Go Big Read program! Final nominations are due by midnight on Friday, February 1st. So don’t delay! If you’ve read something great lately (or even if you’ve read a whole bunch of “something greats”), we want to know about it. Head over here to make your submission! We’re especially excited about the prospect of reading a work of fiction in 2013.

Just for inspiration, here’s a sneak peek of what you might be reading next year…

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara
Please Look After Mom, Kyung Sook-Shin
The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond

…but these are only a handful of the awesome nominations we’ve received. If you’d like to see everything that’s been nominated, check out the running list. Did your favorite book make the list? If not, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and send us your suggestion!

Upcoming book discussions

The Radioactive author event might have come and gone, but you haven’t missed your chance to hear (and participate in!) a fantastic discussion of the book!  Go Big Read and the Madison Public Library have partnered to bring you a whole slew of Radioactive events over the next couple of weeks.

Starting on Tuesday in Stoughton, various branches of the Madison Public Library across the city will be hosting their own book discussions, some of which will be led by students at the UW’s very own School of Library and Information Studies.  The Stoughton event is on Tuesday, November 13th, at 7:00pm.  On Thursday the 15th, the Monroe Street branch opens its doors at 6:00pm, and on Saturday, November 17th, you can head over to the Goodman South branch at 1:30pm.

If art and design is more your thing, you should make your way to the Meadowridge branch of MPL on Wednesday, November 14th at 6:30pm.  The library is hosting a discussion on “the aesthetics of Radioactive,” which is sure to be fascinating.

You can find more information about these and other upcoming events on the Go Big Read event calendar, as well as the Campus Events Calendar and the Madison Public Library’s own Go Big Read page.

Brooke Williams, GBR graduate student

“Draw Your Love Story” at Chadbourne and Ogg

The “Draw Your Love Story” banner at Ogg.
Earlier in the semester, residents of Ogg Hall and Chadbourne Residential Learning Community (CRC) were invited to participate in a unique project: to create pieces of visual art that depicted their individual passions.  The Go-Big-Read-inspired project offered students a chance to show off their own “love story,” a part of themselves which they might not otherwise have shared, and explore the things that mattered to their fellow residents.  Students also had the opportunity to attend a small-group discussion with Lauren Redniss as part of Go Big Read and the “What Matters to Me and Why” lecture series.  Below, two students who helped CRC with the project share their views.

“The ‘Draw Your
Passions’ event that CRC did was a great success! It
was really exciting to see the wide variety of
passions and interests our residents have and the
diverse community that makes up CRC and all of our
residence halls. It provided a great backdrop to the What Matters to Me and Why with Lauren Redniss, as she
talked about all of the things that inspire her as a
writer and artist. Both the CRC’s Passions event and
the What Matters to Me and Why series allow us to
explore the unique experiences and interests we have
that impact where we go in life.” –Ashley Trewartha

“We were inspired
to have students draw their passion in anticipation of
Lauren Redniss’ visit to Chadbourne, because
Radioactive explores the ways in which Marie Curie’s
passions influenced her life and her work. Hers is a
story that reminds us all that if we persevere in our
passions, we will have a huge impact on our chosen
field. Having residents draw their passions not only
asked them to think about what had given them purpose
thus far, but also what was motivating them to get to
where they want to go.” –Elise Swanson

Lauren Redniss was thrilled to see the displays when she came to campus, and was presented with a gift bag from Chadbourne.
Marie Curie puts in an appearance!
The display of artwork at Chadbourne.

“Uranium and U”: Capitol Lakes talk

Interested in learning more about some of the science behind radium and radioactivity?  Tomorrow, Capitol Lakes is hosting a talk by Cathy Middlecamp, associate professor of environmental studies at the Nelson Institute.  Below, find Cathy’s description of the talk:

Any search for radioactive substances will quickly lead you to uranium and its radioactive decay products, one of which is radium.  Over the centuries, humans have done some amazing things with uranium.  Why has uranium been mined  What happened when it was?  And how does that connect to your own life?  This presentation will take you on a lively romp across the planet.  It will pass through your backyard, through other peoples’ backyards as well, and even though some of the bead shops that might be in your neighborhood.

The event is free and open to the public, and will begin at 10:00 am on Tuesday, October 23rd.  Capitol Lakes is located at 333 W. Main Street.  For more information (including parking info), check out the campus calendar.

Cyanotype Workshop at MPL

Two of the wonderful librarians (and graduates of the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies) at the Library as Incubator Project helped document a public library cyanotype workshop last weekend.  They were over at the Madison Public Library’s Sequoya branch, where artist Aliza Rand led a cyanotype workshop.  You can read the full post about their experience on the Incubator, but below, check out a few samples of the beautiful work that was produced.  Click to enlarge.

Cyanotype project from Madison Public Library workshop, October 2012. Photo by Erinn Batykefer.

Cyanotype project from Madison Public Library workshop, October 2012. Photo by Erinn Batykefer.

Cyanotype project from Madison Public Library workshop, October 2012. Photo by Erinn Batykefer.

If you’d like to try your hand at cyanotype, don’t worry!  You have not missed your chance!  Aliza Rand will be hosting another cyanotype workshop this Sunday, October 21st, at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.  The event is free and open to the public, and runs from 1pm until 3pm.  Click here for more info.

Brooke, GBR grad student

Lauren Redniss at Varsity Hall

Radioactive author Lauren Redniss with Chancellor Encore David Ward and a sign language interpreter.

When Lauren Redniss took the stage on Monday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Not that my expectations were low; I just wasn’t sure how, exactly, an hour-long talk could incorporate all of the interesting things about Radioactive.  Unlike many other authors, Redniss was charged with the task of discussing not only the process of researching and writing, but also the process of creating the unique artwork and aesthetic that is as integral to the book as the narrative. Redniss explained that she wanted Radioactive to be a “complete object, with every aspect carefully considered.”  Nothing about the book, she said, is “set on a default setting.”  She even put in the work of designing her own typeface, in addition to experimenting with a new method of artistic printing, arranging the text to fit the moods and shapes of each individual page, and, of course, actually writing the whole thing.  Now she just had to tell us how she did all of it.

It’s not often that an author giving a lecture is faced with such a tall order, but Redniss carried it off with aplomb.  She began by giving a short summary of the book, and then took us back into the work’s very beginnings: her drawings for the New York Times and her first book, Century Girl.  From there, she moved into Radioactive itself, beginning with the research and writing and following it up with a discussion of the book’s visual elements: not only the cyanotype process itself, but the various sketches and inspirations that eventually found their way into the pages, as well as those that didn’t.

Redniss signs a book for a fan.

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, you’ll have seen that I live-tweeted a few of my favorite lines during the event itself (as often as I could without bugging the people around me!).  But there is one line that particularly stood out to me, which I live-tweeted in paraphrase but want to bring up here in its entirety.

There is a kind of cliche about writing, a kind of mantra that’s repeated to aspiring writers: write what you know.  I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think about that. I think it could be fine advice, as long as it’s not interpreted as, “Don’t bother writing anything new, just write about whatever you happen to know already.”  So I think maybe another way that that advice could be interpreted is, “Go out, pursue what interests you, learn about it, be absorbed in it and immersed in it, and then come back and then write about what you now know.”

This, I think, is such a refreshing and useful way to look at writing.  Certainly, as Redniss herself pointed out, a great deal of the work that went into Radioactive was learning: being no scientist herself, Redniss had a lot of reading and exploring and thinking to do as she chronicled the life of one of the world’s greatest scientists.  And I also think that this quote speaks particularly well to the University’s Year of Innovation.  That’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it?–to innovate, to go out and learn things and immerse ourselves in learning.  That was what the Curies did, and it was what Lauren Redniss did, as well.  And we should all follow in those footsteps.

Redniss signs books and meets with members of the community.

The wonderful photos above were taken by Micaela Sullivan-Fowler, one of our campus librarians.  If you would like to view her full gallery of photos from the event, click here.

If you weren’t able to make it to the talk, you can watch a video on our homepage
(the link is under “Features”).  Unfortunately, the video is not yet
captioned, but a captioned version should be available soon.  A
transcript of the event is also on its way, so please let us know if you
are interested in receiving a copy.

For those of you who did come: we hope you enjoyed it, and we’d love to hear your reactions to Redniss’s discussion!  Let us know what you thought on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below.

Brooke, Go Big Read grad student

Lauren Redniss takes the stage on Monday!

With this year’s Go Big Read author event coming up fast, now is a great time to take a look at some recent Radioactive news items that have come across my desk.

Lauren Redniss seems to have been pretty active around Madison over the past week or so (especially for someone who’s not even in town yet!): she’s spoken with the Badger Herald and 77 Square, and even the university’s news page is talking about her.  If you’re looking for a sneak preview of her Monday lecture, look no further

And, of course, I’m going to set out the details of Monday night for you right now.  If you follow us on Twitter (@GoBigRead) or have liked us on Facebook, you’re probably going to be bombarded with this info over the next few days–and it’s in the campus calendar and a few local calendars, as well.  But isn’t it nice to have it all laid out in one place?  So here you go:

Date: Monday, October 17
Time: 7pm
Place: Varsity Hall, on the second floor of Union South (1308 W. Dayton Street)
Who: Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive, the Go Big Read book selected for the 2012-2013 academic year
Why should I go?: Because it will be amazing! Radioactive is a fascinating book: a blend of art, science, biography, history and romance, with an incredibly unique and very beautiful aesthetic. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out how all those things came together?
Other things to know: The event is free and open to the public; you don’t need to get a ticket or reserve a seat.

If you can’t make it to the event in person, well, we’ll miss you!  But you don’t have to miss a minute: we’re live streaming the whole thing, starting about 15 minutes before the talk actually begins.  To get in on that, just go to our home page and look for the link that says “Live stream of the event” (it’s under “Features” on the right side of the page).

If you have any further questions about the event, feel free to email us: gobigread@library.wisc.edu.  You can also find us on Twitter or Facebook with the links above.  Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday!

Brooke, GBR graduate student

Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie

The Polish Heritage Club Wisconsin-Madison is offering a great opportunity for families to learn about Marie Curie’s story through live performance: come see Storysmith Susan Marie Frontczak in Manya, her one-woman show about the life of Marie Curie.  You can find all the necessary details on the poster above (click to enlarge, or click here for a downloadable PDF version).

However, I do have two things to point out:
1. $4 suggested donation–that’s definitely a deal you can’t beat!
and 2. The performances are on October 14, the day before Lauren Redniss comes to speak at Union South.  What a fantastic way to get ready for her discussion of Radioactive and Marie Curie!

Brooke Williams, GBR grad student

Our Nation of Others: Submit your Creative and Artistic Reactions

To encourage a variety of dialogs with this year’s “Go Big Read” selection, UW-Madison’s Memorial Library, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program, University Health Services, and the School of Education will hold a juried art and literature competition for creative and artistic responses to Enrique’s Journey.

All members of the Madison community, including students of all ages, are encouraged to submit a creative work made in reaction to Enrique’s Journey.

Submissions can be in the form of literary works (poems, short stories or essays) or visual works (photographs, paintings, sculpture, collage, etc.). A committee made up of UW faculty, students, and community members will choose the best works, which will be featured in a campus exhibit in Spring of 2012. The creators of the best works will also be recognized at a public awards ceremony and reception to be held in conjunction with the exhibit.

Please watch for a formal call for submissions, to be posted on the Go Big Read web site and distributed widely in late September 2011.

Aug. 23-29: National Community Gardening Week

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared August 23rd-29th to be “National Community Gardening Week“!
“Community gardens provide numerous benefits including opportunities for local food production, resource conservation, and neighborhood beautification,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“But they also promote family and community interaction and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Each of these benefits is something we can and should strive for.”
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