Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Many Find Much to Do for Library Activities-Filled Event Raises Funds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Many Find Much to Do for Library Activities-Filled Event Raises Funds

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicole McGill, Times-Union staff writer

Two nationally known authors brought spirit-filled messages about the power of coincidence and beauty to the Much Ado About Books Literary Luncheon yesterday at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

Much Ado About Books is an annual fund-raiser for the Jacksonville Public Library. In addition to the luncheon, the event offered activities for children, book signings and panel discussions. A gala was last night with hosts John and Marsha Holmes.

During the luncheon, James Redfield, bestselling author of The Celestine Prophecy, talked about how the smallest coincidences have the potential to change our lives, if we pay attention to and take advantage of them.

"Our lives seem to be unfolding according to a certain destiny," said Redfield, whose book was voted the all-time bestseller in religion, spirituality and philosophy in the 2000 New York Times readers' poll.

He was followed by author Susan Vreeland, a cancer survivor whose books The Passion of Artimisia and Girl in Hyacinth Blue were inspired by the beautiful art books she read while undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

"This was my kind of armor as I went to face my Goliath," Vreeland said. "I am convinced that creative endeavor is an element of healing."

The free session yesterday morning gave book lovers an opportunity to meet 29 nationally known authors and join in 18 panel discussions covering everything from writing for children to bringing history to life, the thrill of suspense and health and spirituality.

In the children's Reading Zone area, storyteller Carol Alexander of the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum shared tales from Africa. A few steps away, a Burmese python slowly slithered across the carpet as wide-eyed children ran their fingers across its cool, sleek body.

"We bring the animals so that we can get them [children] interested in reading about them," said Jon Peters of Critter Encounters, pointing to a display of colorful children's books about animals.

Last year, more than 1,200 luncheon tickets were sold and the event raised more than the $130,000 from corporate sponsorships and ticket sales. …

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