Tuesday, April 24, 2012

International Fiction Book Club meeting of April 18, 2012

         The International Fiction Book Club met on the evening of April 18th to discuss Soul Mountain by the Nobel Prize winning author from China, Gao Xingjian.  During the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution this author burned hundreds of manuscripts for fear of having them discovered by “those who oppose spiritual pollution”.  Then, in 1983, he was diagnosed with lung cancer only to be given a reprieve six weeks later by a follow-up x-ray.  As the ax of censorship was about to fall again, he decided to leave Beijing and take what amounted to a walkabout into remote mountain terrain in Southern China.  The result of this expedition into the soul of a man and a country is this novel.

         Xingjian asks himself, “how should I change this life for which I had just won a reprieve”.  He opens the book traveling on a train where the interplay of rattling teacups with a fellow passenger leads  to a conversation.  Intrigued by the man’s destination, the protagonist of the book, decides to make Soul Mountain his goal.  Throughout his travels he encounters Daoist priests, Buddhist monks and a way of village life that will soon be wiped off the earth by the creation of  “The Three Gorges Damn”.  The first approximate half of the book alternates between 1st person and 2nd person narratives with the 1st person that of a wanderer and his chance meetings whereas the 2nd person creates a dialog with a fictitious woman who may or may not be someone the author has met along the way whom he fantasizes about.

         As the book progresses, the traveler becomes more entangled in digressions that lead to both memorable descriptions of ancient ways of life and a transition from daydream like dialogs with a woman accomplice to nightmare visions of reality beyond his control.  At one point he acts as a collector of folk songs as a way to avoid suspicion among the village elders who view his card from the Writers Union as an attempt by the government to expose their way of life as unpatriotic.  Needless to say, the traveler never reaches Soul Mountain.  The directions are ever changing and the best advice he receives comes from a Buddhist monk who tells him, “the true traveler is without a goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveler”.  In 1987, Xingjian left China for Paris where he finished Soul Mountain 1989.  He won the Nobel in 2000.

Posted by Jim Krapf, Library Clerk

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Money Smart Week is April 21-28

Everyone Can Benefit From Financial Education

Mississippi Valley Library District Events:
Fairmont City Library Center - Money Smart Kids Read - Saturday, April 21 at Noon
Collinsville Public Library Center - Credit Counseling Workshop - Monday, April 23 at 5pm
Fairmont City Library Center - International Fund Transfers and Record Retention - Tues, April 24 at 7pm

Are you money smart? Everyone needs to know how to spend, save, and borrow money wisely to achieve their financial goals. That’s why more than 200 free classes and events will be offered during Money Smart Week®-St. Louis, April 21-28 throughout the St. Louis metro region. The goal is to help people learn about managing personal finances and understand why it’s important. Find a comprehensive list of classes at www.moneysmartstl.org or call 2-1-1.

The week of classes include topics such as establishing a budget, understanding credit, first-time home buying, estate planning, saving and investing, credit, raising money smart kids, and more.

Classes, seminars, and activities focused on money management will be carried out by representatives of local community groups, financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, libraries, government agencies, and media outlets. Almost all of the activities are free and are being held in St. Louis City and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and Warren counties in Missouri and the metro east counties of Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe.

Money Smart Week-St. Louis is coordinated by the Greater St. Louis Financial Education Collaborative and 80 partner organizations dedicated to financial wellness. This helps individuals raise their standards of living and also contributes to the welfare of neighborhoods, communities and cities.

hashtag: #moneysmartstl



Posted by:
Katie Heaton
Branch Manager
Fairmont City Library Center

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Collinsville Secrets

Started by Frank Warren in January 2005, PostSecret is an ongoing art project where strangers are invited to anonymously submit a secret on one side of a homemade postcard. Over half a million secrets later, PostSecret has grown to become one of the most popular blogs on the Internet, and Warren has published five books featuring the secrets that strangers have submitted. The secrets vary from hilarious to heartbreaking. Frank updates the blog (www.postsecret.com) every Sunday, and we have recently purchased the PostSecret books for our collection. Now, we're going to do our own version of PostSecret at the library - Collinsville Secrets! You're invited to buy or create your own postcard, decorate it with your secret, and return it to the anonymous drop box at the front desk. We're then going to take the secrets and display them over the course of the summer.

Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant