Book Review | Taduno’s Song by Odafe Atogun

tadunos song coverAs Atogun’s debut novel, Taduno’s Song is a real winner. This novel takes place in a present day African military dictatorship. Taduno is a renowned musician who returns home after months away to find the country has forgotten him entirely, save for his voice. The government has kidnapped his girlfriend to use as a bargaining chip to get him to sing their praises instead of using his music to stand up for the people. Involving a colorful cast of supporter’s, Taduno’s quest to regain his voice and save his lover provides a very inviting tale.

This novel is thought provoking and entertaining, relaying a story that will stay with the reader long beyond the book’s end. As soon as I finished reading it, my thoughts were of how to get my hands on more of Atogun’s writing. His clean and concise style makes the text very easy to follow. This is not often an easy task when employing surrealism in literature. This book will appeal to fans of Haruki Murakami, having some stylistic similarities. Readers may also gain insight or additional understanding of the inner workings of a military dictatorship. A highly recommended quick read, check out Taduno’s Song from a library near you!

Advertisements

Book Review | The Mountains of Parnassus by Czeslaw Milosz

mountains of parnassus.jpegPublished in Polish in 2012, The Mountains of Parnassus was completed by Nobel Prize winner Milosz in the early 1970’s. Though the novel is classified as science fiction, it is dystopian fiction and currently quite applicable. The book is broken into seven sections and introduces the reader to four distinct characters: an astronaut, a cardinal, an exiled man and a struggling man. Each character has a very different story, which allows for wider reader appeal.

The quality of the writing in this book is excellent. Milosz has set some feelings in words in a very touching way. Some of the characters were easier to relate to than others, and their stories combined well to form the novel. It is a quick read, more of a novella that can be read in a few hours. The text is thought provoking and considering when it was originally written, brings to mind the foresight seen in the writing of Ira Levin. This English translation is expected to be published on January 10, 2017.

I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the translator/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Film Review | Inescapable starring Alexander Siddig

inescapable dvd cover Siddig plays a man who had left his entire life in Syria behind in order to disappear to Toronto and start a new one. In Canada he is happily married with two daughters, but has never told them the secrets of his past: his military job, his father who was in charge of the mosque, or his beautiful fiance who was left to wonder if he was dead or alive. It is not until his eldest daughter, a photographer, secretly travels to Damascus to learn about that past and goes missing that those secrets start to matter.

This was an interesting movie. It is not the first daughter-kidnapped, father goes to rescue movie out there, but it does a great job showing how the father’s past was an essential part of the kidnapping. This means it is not the same story as Taken (2008). This film will give a few lessons to a novice about Syrian political history and government while not drowning you in war and facts. The acting is solid and character relationships are realistic. It’s a foreign film in English. If you’re looking for a bit of suspense and a quick travel to the Middle East without being emotionally drained, check out Inescapable from a library near you.

WLA Library Legislative Day

This coming Tuesday, February 22, 2011 is Library Legislative Day. The goal of the event is to send a clear message to the Governor and legislators that libraries are crucial to Wisconsin’s economy. This is a state advocacy event on library issues that is held in Madison. State funding is key for all library types in Wisconsin (academic, public, school, etc.) and is therefore crucial for Wisconsin citizens and our livelihood.

How does this affect library school programs and different library types:

  • About 20% of the budget for public universities and their libraries comes from state revenue.
  • Public libraries depend on state funding to support public library systems.
  • School libraries depend on state funding through the Common School fund.
  • All of these libraries use: Badgerlink (state-licensed databases funded by State Universal Service Fund)
  • Library Service Contracts (Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), Milwaukee Public Library/ Interlibrary Loan (MPL), and Cooperative Children’s Book Center (assists with intellectual freedom))
  • Broadband 
  • Statewide delivery

For those unable to attend the event, there is also Virtual Library Legislative Day which allows you to e-mail, call, or write to your legislator on February 22nd.

2011 Library Legislative Day

February 22nd, 2011 is Library Legislative Day, free for library school students. Considering the new composition of the Wisconsin State Legislature, there needs to be an especially strong turnout at this rally to send a clear message to the Governor and legislators that libraries are crucial to Wisconsin’s economy (i.e. businesses and job creation). If you are unable to attend, you can take part in the Virtual Library legislative day by e-mailing, calling, or writing your legislator on February 22nd.

This is a state advocacy event on library issues that is held annually in Madison. State funding is a crucial component for all library types in Wisconsin (academic, public, school, etc.) and is therefore crucial for Wisconsin citizens and our livelihood. Even if you don’t stay in Wisconsin, this is an instructive experience for whatever state or library type you end up with. Here is a breakout of how this affects our library school program and library types:
  • About 20% of the budget for public universities and their libraries comes from state revenue.
  • This affects the UW SLIS program through the allocation (or lack thereof) for faculty members.
  • Public libraries depend on state funding to support public library systems.
  • School libraries depend on state funding through the Common School fund.
  • All of these libraries utilize:
  • Badgerlink (i.e. state-licensed databases paid through the State Universal Service Fund)
  • Library Service Contracts (Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), Milwaukee Public Library/ Interlibrary Loan (MPL), and Cooperative Children’s Book Center (Assists with intellectual freedom))
  • Newline for the Blind
  • Broadband
  • Statewide delivery
 
Here is a list of areas which WLA Library Legislation & Development committee is looking for in terms of preparation for the event:

  • Making legislative appointments in late January
  • Stuffing folders for Library Legislative Day (LLD) registrants
  • Registration table at LLD itself

If you are interested in helping out, e-mail Easter DiGangi at easter.digangi@uwalumni.com.