readers advisory

January 2, 2008


This blog isn’t dead, it’s sleeping. Or it has Seasonal Affective Disorder, or is consumed by learning French, or is training for a marathon. In the case of our Leets, she’s a mother to a brand new baby boy, and we’re so proud.

Anyway, in this slow season, I am inclined to draw on time-tested pastimes, namely, leisure reading. Kristy prolifically book-blogs all year-round, but for me the fire comes and goes. I never understand the things about beach reading, because for me in the summer, it’s getting tan, drinking beer and chasing boys, but in the winter, its books, books, books. One of the gestures I wish I had made more as a librarian is trying to engage my colleagues with questions about what they were reading. I mean, I don’t really understand the modern sci-fi/fantasy genre, aside from Octavia Butler, but a lot of librarians love it, and I wish I had gotten someone to passionately explain it to me. Unbashful book-talking is one of the things they teach you in YA and kid lit classes, but it seems like such an innate skill to me, and one that’s so socially conditional. Why do you think Nancy Pearl is so beloved? Like, you can talk to your friends for hours about sneakers, Stevie Nicks, Willa Cather, Herzog movies, and what you want to eat for brunch,  but can you talk to a stranger, on demand about those things?

So, fellow librarians, how do you book-talk sucessfully? And more importantly, what are you reading now? I’m rereading Seduction and Betrayal in memoriam of Elizabeth Hardwick, and am slowly working through Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Summer Will Show. I’ve run through John Cheever’s stories and am halfway through a copy of Falconer  I found on the street in Park Slope a month ago. And last, but not least, have spent the past few nights buried in Ceruzzi’s A History of Modern Computing.


dissed! at news corp.

May 1, 2007

Members of our ranks should have plenty of reasons to bristle at the mention of Murdoch and News Corp. already. ( y’all know I do.) But in case you need an occasion to recoil at something that relates to librarians super-directly, check out Gawker’s roundup of inside dirt from News Corp. employees, which alleges serious mismanagement of information and technology throughout, with one item that outright disses the ‘corp’s librarians:

No individual Nexis accounts, but the computer program that reporters used to use to search for stories, Folio, went out of business. Reporters can ask the library to do a Nexis search for them, but insiders say that taking that route is essentially a black hole: “At the last minute, stories are often killed because some librarian didn’t catch that Newsday did the same story a few weeks before.”