Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Books: Not just for old people any more

With our focus on the instant communication that ensures we can receive Charlie Sheen’s latest thoughts even before he thinks them, it’s good to remember the power of books.

In the last couple of weeks Creative Communications students are demonstrating their achievements in creating books and commenting on other writers’ books.

All this while tweeting, blogging, creating ePubs and engaging in all sorts of other online activities.

Recent highlights:

Second-year student Yvonne Raymond has self-published Lockout, a memoir of growing up in the boom-and-bust town of Pine Falls, Manitoba. Her book launch jammed the restaurant at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, she has had to order a second printing to handle the demand, and the Pine Falls public library wants her to hold another launch in the town.

She also runs a website where readers can comment on the book and on life in Pine Falls.

Not bad for a student who was told by a scornful representative of Tembec, the company that shut down the Pine Falls mill, that she would never publish a book.

Last weekend I attended another jammed launch for another student’s self-published book: Pieces by Amanda Hope.

Pieces is a novel based on the life of Hope’s great-aunt, a tale jammed with incident and character.

Both these books required more than a year of interviewing, planning, writing and rewriting. Then there was some more rewriting. Did I mention the rewriting?

Students are also studying two books by Winnipeg writers.

The second-year Journalism majors are investigating Winnipeg’s Great War: A City Comes of Age by Jim Blanchard. You can read their comments in the blogs listed on the right side of this page.

First-year students are reading To the Grave: Inside A Spectacular RCMP Sting by Mike McIntyre. This week they are doing group presentations in class on the book, particularly on what journalists can learn from reading it.

Blanchard and McIntyre have come in and spoken to the students about their work.

Interestingly, McIntyre is a prolific multimedia guy. As @mikeoncrime he tweets vigorously about crime, the justice system and his son’s hockey team.

Books: Still a part of your nutritious information meal.

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