cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “libraries”

Hold it, Hold it


When I get down to one book in hand and one waiting to be read, a rising sense of dismay bordering on idgety panic ensues.

I could live without chocolate before I could live with nothing to read.

–C.Muse

So I did what any ink-blooded Book Booster does–I began scouring my resources and filling up my books- to-read shelf. First stop: the library.

I rarely buy books. If I do, they are gifts. This means I have achieved Frequent Flyer status at my local library. Can’t beat the convenience or the price: five minutes down the street and a twenty item limit. Did I mention they have an amazing free books shelf? Plus, they have the nicest inter-library loan dept. The library often buys my requests–I am spoiled, I know.

I also review for two separate publishers, and I can review two books at a time per site.

My panic mode at having nothing to read over the long weekend before school starts (my leisure reading diminishes considerably after Labor Day) became one of stress when EVERYTHING came in at once. I went from bare shelf to overwhelmed in a matter of moments.

Three holds appeared within two days of each other, with two being ILLs needing to be read almost immediately (honestly–why loan it out if a person barely has time to read the book?) and one book bearing that annoying little bookmark “Read Me First!” I can practically feel the anticipatory drumming of fingers of the next patron. Three books I have to read now, as in right now, presents an oxymoronic perspective to the idea of leisurely reading over the holiday.

Oh, two review books arrived and they need to be read and reviews duly noted before the month is out.

I also have three books which I had picked up at the library a couple of weeks ago, which means their due date is approaching. Renew or return? Oh, how I dislike that question.

Well, I have plenty to read at the moment. I will have to hold off on my longings for the new titles promos that keep popping up in my email.

Does anyone else go through this famine/feast cycle? I’m hoping I’m not alone in this…

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Hold it, Hold it


My idea of vacation is a quiet condo equipped with a comfy couch and a sunlit balcony–and being within walking distance of a library.

Fortunately, I got all that at a great price–free! Yup, I’m staying at my mom’s place for a couple of weeks while she is traveling. Perfect set up. It’s my old neighborhood, just down from my high school and I’m here for about two weeks.

No yard to tend. No tv to distract. No tempting pantry beckoning me. So no weeding, channel zoning, or needless snacking. Just reading. And yeah, I’m here to focus on my writing too.

image: roanoke.com
Upon unpacking I immediately trotted next door to the library, the one I grew up with from fifth grade through part of college, and scoured the shelves and ordered books not readily available. I’m thinking they would come in a bit at a time, kind of staggered in their return to the shelves.

Nope.

They all popped in within two days and I am reading, reading, reading.

Life should be so complicated, right?

I am now at 53% towards my reading challenge of 101 books. Ooh, I do so like having a batch of books at my fingertips. *sigh*

So far I’ve read:

Anna and the Swallow Man

The Wednesday Wars

Reduced Shakespeare

Blackberry Wine

Courtyard of Dreams

After Hamelin

As well as having thumbed through a couple of fun books:

Amazing Cows

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

William Shakespeare: Scenes from the Life of the World’s Greatest Writer

Dante’s Divine Comedy: a graphic novel

How is your summer reading going?

POM: SEPTEMBER


September heralds in fall and school. Being a librarian at heart with a day job as an English teacher, I have a soft spot for poems about books, especially those about libraries. This one hits the spot quite nicely.

My First Memory (of Librarians)

Nikki Giovanni
This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
       wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
       too short
              For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
       a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.

This summer was an odd one. In my part of the world June is usually a bit drippy around the edges until after July 4th. Summer decided to rev up early and we suffered through high nineties through most of the season, which caused a set of horrendous fires in the surrounding states.

We usually coast into a gentle fall, with chilly nights and warmer days, allowing the ability to sneak in sandals and linen skirts a couple of more weeks. Not so this September. We are nightly lighting chill breakers in the stove and I forlornly have folded away my summer stock of tank tops and capris.

As a farewell to summer, as fall officially begins this week, I have included an August poem.

August

Lizette Woodworth Reese
No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon’s single cloud, white, glaring, still

Last Chance Rack Finds


When the progeny were young enough to tote to the grocery store I used to dread the inevitable trial of the checkstand gauntlet: the Last Chance Rack. You know, the racks of candy, toys, geegaws, magazines that all whimper at worn out consumers to be taken home. Their whimpering frequency is especially tuned to children’s ears. “Pluheeze, Mom?” I did have a stock phrase for surviving the ordeal which consisted of “Sorry, I don’t have money for (fill in the blank) today.” No arguing with that. And very true–I tended to stick to the budget because I had to back then.  Actually, I still should as an empty nester. Never mind that.

The Last Chance Rack I refer to today does not promote cavities or wasteful spending. This is a positively good rack in that it promotes reading. This is the LCR of the library. Our library has prominently planted two double-sided racks near the checkout area. They probably meant it as a way to display new titles as a greeting for patrons. On the flip side, the racks serve another purpose, one I think of more significance. While patrons await their turn to check out their basket of literary goodies they  find themselves next to the LCR and can’t help but browse titles.  I usually end up taking home an extra yummy or two.  Who can resist? The books are especially trained to Book Booster frequency.

This last week I went in for my one hold–akin to going in for that one quart of milk. I came out with two extra books.  No complaints about the extra calories needed to read my found treasures.  Thought I would share my finds:

image: amazon.com

 

As a Book Booster it’s difficult to pass up a book about making books. Like any conniseur, I appreciate the art and skill that goes into making something I so regularly consume. The books contained within this palm-sized tome focus on the artisans and their craft. Flipping through the pages and savoring the renderings of featured artists inspire me to try my hand at making my own book or two. There are handy directions included. Sounds like Christmas presents to me…

Another LCR item practically jumped into my arms as I passed the rack. This little goodie knew a Bardinator was in hailing distance. I need to subscribe to the NYT bestseller list. I always hear of these amazing books waaay after they’ve been out and then feel so silly when I find them and gush about them. No wonder I get those looks of–“That was so yesterday’s book.” or “You are just now hearing about that one?” I’m so glad the Book Booster Brigrade is disbanded. I might be in violation of section 31-A (best seller awareness).

Ready for this companion to the NYT bestseller? (just roll your eyes if you are already oh-so-aware of it):

How can you resist a book from a publisher called Quirk Books?(from which this image cometh)

Without slavering too much about how it’s so absolutely genius to mash-up Shakespeare with Star Wars, I will say Ian Doescher manages to pull off the feat of presenting *the best episode* of the Star Wars trilogy in iambic pentameter with dextrous aplomb. Not that I’m an expert at iambic pentameter, but I do appreciate how tough it is to write it. I teach it as the “heartbeat” meter and the students understand that. Shakespeare understood that writing his works in a meter close to the essence of being alive meant his words would be as easy to remember as breathing. Doescher gets that concept too, and understands the devotion of Stars Wars fans. Bringing Shakespeare into our century in a new and absolutely true and original way always gets a round of applause from me. What I really appreciated about Doescher’s mirthful approach is how he skillfully inserted references to the Bard’s other works. Here is my unabashed shopping list of “Where’s Willy?” finds:

  • Leia’s rant about Han’s ego is reminiscent of Beatrice
  • Hamlet’s “A hit! A very palpable hit!” uttered by Luke as they attack AT-ATs
  • C-3PO’s parts with sorrow from his loyal R2-D2 is so R&J
  • As Luke wings his way to learn the ways of the Jedi from Yoda he speaks of the affairs of mean
  • And Leia swoons upon discovering her nice scoundrel kisses by the book–that Han, he’s such a bad boy Romeo

The book trailer is as delightful as the book:

 

 

Anyone else have a library with a tempting Last Chance Rack?  Don’t resist the Force of a good book that needs to go home with you…

Stacking the Odds


Barbie

image: Amazon.com

Now and then I try to squeeze in volunteer time at the library by shelving a cart or two of books.  Having worked at a couple of libraries I can do the Dewey sufficiently well.  In the future I should remember that the reason the non-fiction juvenile cart is up for grabs is because it takes a loooong time to do. I will have to say that it does involve quite a bit of aerobics stretching from whales to the Star Wars cookbook.

Besides the getting some calisthenics in and helping out the library, I volunteer shelve because I find all sorts of treasures for myself. And because I am on my own clock now I don’t suffer the guilt (and rebuke from my supervisor and coworkers) when browsing. Okay, I do feel a little bit of guilt.

Here  are some of the treasures I’ve discovered:

 

The Good, the Bad, the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone
Being a Boomer girl I had quite the Barbie collection. I even had the one in the zebra one piece. Had Midge, Skipper, Ken complete with a kitchen set and canopy bedroom ensemble. Oh, yes, I do wish I still had them. No, not because I’m a Barbie fan, but I’m sure my retirement account would have been a bit healthier because there are LOTS of Barbie fans out there.

Lincoln Lawyer (this was a series before the movie!)

Limitless–having watched the movie I was intrigued enough to read the book. Go with the movie.

Monk? based on the series? How could a book do him justice?

Deadly Pursuit–a Christian thriller mystery? I’m game. Toss it on the TBR list.

I also made some observations:

If I look like I know what I’m doing people will think I do know something. I felt really, really good about helping a patron find a book she wanted. We didn’t find it but I gave her information how to place a hold or a search for the title.

I had no idea how prolific Christie, Cussler, Jance, Patterson are as authors until faced with trying to alphabetize their numerous titles. SIDENOTE: I found out it’s okay to get the titles in place by author (you know how that’s dratted patrons just mix them up anyway–wait, I’m a dratted patron).

People really do read Melville’s Moby Dick.

And To Kill a Mockingbird still rocks the shelves! Big yeah on this one.

So don’t be shy, trot right on down to your friendly local neighborhood library and see about volunteering for shelving. You’ll feel good, the library folk will be happy, and you’ll have an even fatter TBR list.

Way Too Cool Library(ians)


I am a bona fide bibliophile. I not only love (phile) books (biblio) I adore all that  is connected to them: writing, reading, bookstores, and libraries. If we go on vacation I seek out the library. Some seek out shopping, eating, beaching, hiking, or cycling–I seek out reading. My idea of the perfect vacation tour would be to visit libraries all around the world.  The cool part about libraries is the librarians. There are plenty of movies about super heroes as well as super agents, along with super smart folk who solve crime, save the world, etc.–but rarely is the librarian given credit where credit is due. Being a librarian at heart, I had a fair amount of fun watching The Librarian series–all that knowledge put to good use saving the world. Yeah, librarians do have skills.

image: pinterest.com

Libraries around the world preview:

  • clementinum int 10 of the world's most spectacular libraries

    This is in Prague. Oh, yes, I do want to go. I do. I do.

Neil Gaiman: Why We Need Libraries


  • image: greenbaywriters.wordpress.com

Neil Gaiman is one of those buzzword authors. Unfortunately, I have not harkened to becoming a reader of his works. I have tried, really I have. However, I do perk up when it comes to successful authors speaking up about reading, particularly about libraries. Last year, Gaiman spoke eloquently about the need for libraries and the lecture,  “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming” was reprinted in The Guardian.  

Excerpt:

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

Another excerpt:

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before – books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

  • image: pinterest.com

Check out the lecture. You will be cheering by the end of reading it. You might even feel like running down to your library and say to it, “Thanks for being here.” Don’t forget to hug and a librarian and say the same.

Libraries All Over


Libraries. We think of them in terms of brick and glass with rows of shelves and some comfy chairs. Yet, they can appear in many places and in many forms.

A Works Progress Administration Bookmobile visits Bayou De Large, Louisiana. Photo from the New Deal Network.

Pack horse librarians pose in Hindman, Kentucky. From the University of Kentucky’s Goodman-Paxton Photographic Collection

A booketeria in a Nashville supermarket. Photo from the Nashville Public Library.

A vending machine library at a Bay Area school. Photo originally from Inside Bay Area.

A former Wal-Mart photo from the McAllen Public Library.

BiblioTreka transformed into the pop-up library.

Pop-Up Library known as the BiblioTreka (image: libraryasincubatorproject.com)

IKEA shelves. Bondi Beach. Books. Perfection. (image:PeaceandNoise.blogspot.com)

A true book is never phoney. (image: PeaceandNoise.blogspot.com)

This gives me hope books ae not on the wayse as technology encroaches on book-in-hand versus book on-screen. Any unusual libraries spottings?

Why We Say: #1


The Word Geek in me is rising forth once again.

Having loaned out a book so long ago I thought I had inadvertently donated to Somewhere (Friends of the Library book sale, Goodwill, who knows), I did a happy dance to have it once again returned to me.  I gleaned it long ago when deleting old and dilapidated items from the school library.  Only a Word Geek would appreciate this title:

Why we say: A guidebook to current idioms…

It’s full of idioms and the background of why we say what we say.  Published in 1953, it’s actually older than I am; however, when I do utter some of these expressions now and then my students do that sideways eye glance at each other, and I will know they haven’t a clue what I am talking about.  This book, now back in my possession, helps me explain why we say what we say.

For instance:

“His excuse about not reading the assignment was above board.”

>What’s she talking about?<

>I dunno.  It’s one of her odd things she says<

Well, it’s not that odd when you think about it.  Sailors deal with the water in two ways: what goes on below, and thus unseen, and what goes on above, which is most easily seen.  When things could be seen easily, clearly, straightforward, and even honestly it was considered above board, or above the water line.

Hence, the student’s excuse about not reading the assigned homework was honest.  I believed the reason.

>Why didn’t she say that in the first place?<

>I dunno.  She says stuff like that all the time.<

Has anyone got an idiom you say but haven’t the foggiest what it means?  Betcha my lil book explains it.  Send ’em my way.

 

Library Workouts


Although I once worked for a time in a county library I can’t remember feeling worn out by the work, it’s not like my duties were terribly physical.  Shelving books, pushing carts, lifting a box now and then didn’t fatigue me much, and the duties hardly put me in the best of physical of condition since most of the job meant sitting down while doling out books.  I wish I had known about this workout tape. My goodness, I might have become the epitome of physical fit librarians.

Betty Glover might be the Jane Fonda of the book set!

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