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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BOOKS / WORDS & IMAGES

Boys & Girls Club Welcomes Used Books to Stock Library

The chapter in Ventura plans to expand its store of volumes to encourage reading. New tomes as gifts for youths are also needed.

December 19, 1996|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There are six shopping days left before Christmas and even the Scrooges among us are scurrying around searching for the right gifts.

Would you consider adding the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura to your Christmas list? The eastside club, at 1929 Johnson Drive, is planning a major expansion of its library to encourage youngsters to read more. The staff needs used books in very good condition, suitable for ages 7 to 13.

"Some new books would also be a great Christmas gift for the kids at the club," said Jim Woodard, who is directing the project. A professional storyteller and former counselor at Boys Town in Nebraska, Woodard says that kids who participate in the club's reading programs get better grades and develop more self-esteem.

If you can help, contact Ralph Velardi at 641-5599 or Woodard at 658-6697. Books may be dropped off at the club.

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Ventura County is home to a trio of Barnes & Noble stores, two Borders Books stores plus independent bookshops such as Adventures for Kids, Mysteries to Die For and the Ventura Bookstore.

All told, there are miles of book shelves to be stocked here.

Someone's got to fill all that shelf space--which should be an incentive to aspiring writers.

Here are titles by area authors that may smooth the bumpy road toward publication: "Learning to Write Fiction From the Masters," by Barnaby Conrad; "Islands of Recall," by Louise Cabral; and "How to Market You & Your Book," by Richard O'Connor. Any of these would be great gifts for the literary toilers on your Christmas list.

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One more gift suggestion. Jack Miles' Pulitzer Prize-winning interpretation of the Bible, "God: A Biography," is a stunning and audacious account of the character of God as the ambiguous protagonist of the Old Testament. "Wonder and discovery await readers of this stylishly written tour de force," according to one reviewer.

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The Oxnard Library's annual Santa Claus story time will feature Spanish-language tales and gifts for children at 7 tonight at 251 South A St. Channel 22 will film the event for broadcast the following week.

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The 1996 writing competition sponsored by Simi Valley's branch of the National League of American Pen Women received hundreds of entries from writers throughout the United States and Canada.

Only 12 awards are given each year, and a number of local writers came up winners.

Megan Garman of Chatsworth took first place for nonfiction. Honorable mentions went to Lucy Aron of Santa Barbara for nonfiction and Lari Kathleen Quinn of Oxnard for poetry. San Fernando Valley residents Joan Jones, Barbara Ann Rouse and Marie Martin also won honorable mentions.

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In Santa Barbara

Adrian Spence, founder and director of the music group Camerata Pacifica, will present the second in a series of talks, entitled "A Hitchhiker's Guide to Classical Music: When to Clap and Other Mysteries Revealed," at 7:30 tonight at Borders Books, 829 State St.

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The Alternative Venue Ensemble will perform Philip Van Doren Stern's "The Greatest Gift," which was the inspiration for the film "It's a Wonderful Life," at 8 tonight at Earthling Bookshop, 1137 State St.

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Frances Halpern is co-host with Jon O'Brien of "Beyond Words" at 10 a.m. Sundays on KCLU-FM (88.3), Ventura County's National Public Radio station.

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