I saw this prompt a good while back over at Booking Through Thursday, and it has been sitting in my feed reader’s list for a while. I am finally getting around to it. The prompt is as follows:
“How often do you visit a library? Do you go to borrow books? Do research? Check out the multi-media center? Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff? Are you there out of love or out of need?”
This is an interesting question for a librarian. I can say that I visit a library every day of the week since I work at a library. But let’s look at the question in a different way. I am an academic librarian, which means I am a librarian that works at a college or university library. In my case, it’s a college library. From my library, I do borrow books to read, though not as often as I do from the public library. Much of this is because I read pretty broadly, and I also tend to read a variety of popular topics that an academic library just does not pick up. A public library and an academic library have different missions and serve different populations, so their collection development tends to be different. Thus for some things, I can find them at my library. Other things I rely on the Berea branch of my local public library.
So, what do I get from my own library? I often get the following from my own library:
- Some more academic history books.
- Books about higher education.
- Some books on social justice issues, especially as related to race, gender, and related issues.
- Some graphic novels (our library has a graphic novels collection for students to use, mainly recreational. We have some decent holdings, but it is still a work in progress).
- Items via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). When neither my library nor my local public library have a book I want to read, I can use this service to have my library bring it in from another library. It is one of the big perks of working in an academic institution. Public libraries do offer ILL, but it is rarely as robust as the one in an academic institution. I have used ILL to get all kinds of books from academic topics to popular books.
What do I get from my public library:
- Graphic novels. These are often titles my library does not have. They often get things quicker too than we do.
- History books. In this case, I get more popular history works, the kind that a good informed lay reader would read. A particular subset of this would be microhistories. Those are books that do history on a single topic really well. One example is Mark Kurlansky’s Salt.
- An art book now and then. This also includes photography books.
- Humor books.
- Some popular fiction. I read science fiction, plus some fantasy and horror, so I get books in those categories. This year, I am doing a horror reading challenge, so I get those books through my public library. Brian Keene’s work was a recent discovery from doing the challenge last year. I do look forward to reading more by him, by the way.
- In fact, when I do reading challenges, I often get the books for them at my public library.
- Books on fairly random topics. I am pretty inquisitive, and once in while I will pick up something because it sounds interesting. I have read books about rodeos and fried twinkies, about the history of delis, about the Glock handgun, so on. Recently, I even read the book that is now basis of the movie War Dogs (by the way, from the looks of recent reviews, skip the movie, read the book). I am very eclectic as a reader, and I usually find what I need at the public library.
- Media. I get DVDs for some movies. I like movies, but I would not call myself a movie buff. I also get DVDs for old television shows. Plus, since I am doing an audiobook reading challenge this year, I have been trying out some of their selections. However, in audiobooks, my local public library does leave a lot to be desired.
In the end, I go to my local public library out of my need as a reader. I usually visit my public library once a week, usually on Sundays. I do get things from my own academic library, but I read a bit too broadly and eclectically for my academic library. So my public library combined with Interlibrary Loan pretty much get me what I need. In the end, I do love libraries. I am glad I work in one, and I am happy to use and support my local public library branch.
How about readers out there? Feel free to comment about your own library experiences, what you go to the library for, so on. Or if you do not use your local library, tell me why as well.
In case you missed them, or in case you are looking for something new to read, here are the books I reviewed over at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of July 2016.
- I started the month with a true crime graphic novel: Green River Killer. This is the story of a serial killer that terrorized Seattle in the late 1960s to 1970s.
- I read Ghost Fleet, Volume 2. With this book, I complete the series, which sadly was cancelled after issue 8. It is still worth seeking out the trades.
- Before the Star Wars films that we know, George Lucas had a vision, and he put it down in a rough draft. You can read that vision now in The Star Wars.
- Want to get your fix of the “original” Ghostbusters (i.e. the guys from the first movies)? You might consider picking up Ghostbusters International.
- If you like Ellen DeGeneres, you might consider reading her book Seriously…I’m Kidding. I read it as an audiobook, but it is available in print too. I read this as part of my challenge this year to read more audiobooks.
- I read some nice erotica in Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples.
- If you have a friend about to get married, or recently married, this little book could make a good engagement gift. The book is Scenes from an Impending Marriage.
- I reviewed the 1969-1970 and 1973-1974 volumes of The Complete Peanuts.
- I continue to enjoy the Grayson series from DC Comics. For this month, I reviewed the third volume of the series. In a time when a lot of DC Comics are a big mess, to put it mildly, this series is an enjoyable entertainment. This and their Harley Quinn run with Conner and Palmiotti are about the only comics I am really enjoying out of DC these days.
- I also read some Star Wars now that it is owned by Marvel, who is now owned by Disney. The book is Vader Down.
Apparently, a lot of people go wild on the weekends spending money (story via Wise Bread). People need stuff to do, and apparently a little retail therapy goes a very long way. The article I linked gives some ideas on how to avoid those traps, but as often with listicles, I had an issue or two with it. So I am going to look over their list of ideas and add my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to comment and agree or disagree, or say anything else for that matter.
- The movie theater. OK, this is fairly obvious. It’s the weekend, the latest blockbuster is out, and and you want to be able to brag you were among the first to see it. I guess I get the appeal. They suggest you instead stay home and use Netflix or rent a movie from the Red Box (assuming there is a Red Box near you). They do have a point here. Movie theaters are expensive propositions in terms of tickets, then you add the popcorn, the soda to wash down that popcorn, any extra candy, so on. Plus if you are taking a family with you, you have at least a car payment probably.
- Staying at home is a good option. However, if you want to save a bit more money, since you are staying at home anyhow, consider visiting your local public library. If you have a library card, it means you can not just check out books, but you can also check out DVDs, Blue Rays, so on, and they do not cost you a thing. Your public library often has not just movies but also many of the popular TV shows you may like. Make your own popcorn, save on the rental from that box, and watch something at home from the library.
- The car lot. I read that, and my reaction was, “the car lot? Who the hell goes to a car lot for fun on a weekend?” I avoid a car lot the way I would avoid things like root canals, prostate probes, water boarding, and other medieval tortures. Who the hell does that and then just feels like, “hey, let’s buy a new car”? I am guessing these are people with either really good credit (so they can get approved for the financing), or they have money to burn and nothing better to do. If they are in the former, do you really need to get into another debt? If you are in the latter, this type of saving money article probably does not apply to you anyhow.
- Need a place to go? There are plenty of parks and museums that do not cost a thing or that have modest cost. You can browse and look around to your heart’s content without ending up with a new car loan. Sure, if you actually need a vehicle, and it is a planned purchase, sure, go look around and work to get the best deal. But car lot should not be anywhere in your options for weekend fun.
- The mall. Just avoid it. It is possible to go to the mall and walk around and window shop, but if you have no willpower nor discipline, just avoid this place.
- Again, alternatives include parks, museums, the farmer’s market, the library, etc. There are plenty of low cost or free options that will probably provide you a better experience than going to the mall.
- Restaurants. I get eating out once in a while, but the article makes a good point: “Have a plan for what meals you will make at home Saturday and Sunday…”.
- In other words, cook at home more. By the way, this also applies to ordering out.
- Open Houses. Since I am not in the market for a new house any time soon, I do not get this. To me, this sounds almost as bad as going to a car lot for the fun of it. What kind of sick people do this? The real risk, according to the article, is not that you suddenly buy a house. The risk is you getting ideas of expensive shit you want to fix and do in your own house.
- See my note above on the availability of parks, museums, libraries, and other free or very low cost venues if you need to be entertained.
- The Furniture Store. Really? This seems just as bad as going to the car lot, and furniture salespeople can be just as pushy and obnoxious. The article’s suggestion on trying to buy used furniture when possible is pretty good if you do need furniture. However, if you are just doing this for the fun of it, because you are bored, again, find another option.
- Big Ticket items. This is a tricky one for me to speak about since I do not really go to these kind of things. So for me, I easily save the money I could have spent on something like this. The article defines “big ticket” events as things like sporting events, but it also adds concerts and theater productions. Personally, I do not care for sports at all. I just did not inherit the macho gene that says I have to care about sports. So going to a stadium and spending enough money to keep a small third world economy afloat is not my idea of fun. While I like some acts, I do not like them enough to go to a concert and deal with crowds, etc. The only thing I might indulge in is theater, and I still try to go cheap on that.
- If you must watch sports, hey, do it at home on TV. Even if you spend money on a giant screen TV and some cable/satellite sports package, odds are good you will save more than if you go to the stadium. Having people over to watch a big game? Hey, make it a potluck for the food and get them to help out with some of those costs a bit. For concerts, there are options to see them from the comfort of your home too. Try those instead. As for theater, well, if you live in the boonies like I do, fancy theater is not really an option. However, in a college town, there are often various student productions that are very good, and admission cost is modest, so I get my theater fix that way.
- The weekend roadtrip. This is the one I may have some sympathy for. I happen to enjoy a good road trip. Contrary to what the article has you believe of it being a money hole, if you save enough and plan ahead, a good road trip can provide you with a pleasant and positive experience you cherish. If you have a little discipline with your expenses, doing this once in a while should be OK.
- Personally, I generally do not take road trips to big ticket places. For one, I do live on a librarian’s salary. Two, the Better Half’s job is not one that allows her to take vacations easily, so a small road trip to a small attraction nearby is about as good as it gets. A short trip to a local festival a town or two over is a good weekend trip, especially if there is no overnight stay involved. I usually seek out small and unusual attractions too, which tend to be more modest in cost. Here in Kentucky, a small indulgence of mine for road trips is going to one of the bourbon distilleries now and then. A tour is not really too costly, and if you don’t go crazy at the gift shop, it is a nice thing to do on a weekend drive. I also say take advantage of things like state parks, fairs, etc., to get out plus such things mean you support your local economies.
- If I do have to stay overnight, hotel is fine. However, I do shop around for a good price; they suggest $75. I say if all you need is the bed to sleep in and maybe a small breakfast in the morning, you can do better than that in terms of price (and no, you will not end up in a roach motel). The article suggests to save this cost by staying with friends and relatives. I counter that if you have few friends, and you have obnoxious relatives, then the cost of the hotel is well worth it. At that point, you are paying not just for the bed to stay in but also for your peace of mind. Saving a few bucks by staying at Crazy Aunt Sue’s and her husband the Rush Limbaugh fan is not a vacation. You get what you pay for, and I would rather have the peace and quiet at the end of the day. Your mileage may vary.
In the end, there are some obvious things you should avoid in order not to spend a lot of money over the weekend. But if it is something you planned for the experience, then do your best to make a budget and stick to it. It is not complicated.
Now enjoy your weekend.
Wise Bread had one of those articles, listicle really, you have to take with a shaker full of salt. This time it’s “5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks.” Yes, I know the economy is bad, and people need to save money, but I think folks who see this need to keep their expectations seriously low. The bottom line is that, unless somebody somewhere paid for it, you are not going to be reading authors like Grisham, Rowling, and Clancy in free ebooks. Here are some of the things to keep in mind the article does not really tell you or just conveniently forgets:
- A red flag for me: “Throughout elementary school and college, I controlled the costs of books primarily by utilizing my public library. I haven’t stepped foot in a library in three years. . .” . Maybe she may want to consider stepping back into her local public library. Many public libraries today feature ebooks, often via Overdrive. Your library card entitles to access to your local library’s ebook collections, and those collections do feature various current and older but interesting books.
- The whole Kindle family library and borrowing ebooks from family and friends. This may be free for you, but you are basically mooching off someone else who is paying for their ebooks. Now, I am not against borrowing per se, but let’s not fool ourselves and say this is free. You may not have paid for it, but someone else did, and I honestly have to wonder if telling people to mooch off someone else’s ebook subscription is really the best advice. You are basically telling people to let some other sucker pay for the ebooks you want to read. When it comes to the ethics, well, your mileage may vary.
- I loved the euphemism of “non-professional stories online.” This is basically amateur writing you find in places ranging from Amazon to other websites where writers of various levels of skill self-publish. Now before you get your hopes up, for everyone one self-published author who might get plucked out of obscurity and become famous, like the guy who wrote The Martian, you are going to find tons and tons of seriously bad dreck that is self-published. This includes fan fiction by the way. So if you feel like taking your chances, and you really, really need to feed your reading addiction, go right ahead. Just don’t go expecting to find the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King in those places. The author of the article does admit that “you can expect to find some sub-par writing due in part, to the fact that individuals of various skill levels publish on these types of sites.” That is a polite way of putting it. Believe me, as part of my reading I do for reviews, I have come across my share of these “non-professional stories” where I honestly hope those writers did keep their day jobs.
- Public domain books. There are various places to find these, but keep in mind, these are mostly what people call classics. If you want to save on reading old books, the kind you may have had to read forcibly in school, then the various depositories featuring public domain books are for you. The other thing you find in the public domain sites are forgotten books. A few may be gems waiting to be rediscovered. A lot are forgotten for a reason, and they likely should stay forgotten. Having said that, you can find some curious items if you have the patience to look (or you have some good sources on your RSS reader to alert you of such things) such as my recent find of Pagan Passions. (I will have a brief comment on that book in a future post). Looking through sources of Public Domain books is a lot like panning for gold, except you may often find more duds than nuggets, but well worth it when you do find that one gold nugget. If you are interested, the author of the article does provide a nice link to a list of Public Domain sources for books.
At the end of the day,articles like this come and go every so often, and there are quite a few out there such as here and here, and heck, even some public libraries are getting in on informing patrons about these options, like this one here. As a librarian, I tend to be happy to promote free books but skeptical when they make it sound like you can read anything you want that you might find in your local bookstore. That is not even close, and I wish that reality was made more apparent.
The bottom line is that tips like these are good for you if the following is true for you:
- You are a very avid reader who is not too fussy about what you read.
- You are a reader willing to take a lot of chances on what you may find to read.
- You understand that you are not going to get the latest bestsellers or other very popular books for free unless someone else has paid for them. So if you do as the article states, you will (politely I hope) be mooching someone else’s accounts where they did pay for their ebooks.
- You have to be willing to put in some work. Whether it be finding someone to give you access to their collections that they paid for or search through Public Domain sites to find something, you have to put in some effort finding and then selecting what you want to read.
- You have to be willing to lower your standards a bit. Sure, as I said, you may find a gem here or there, but you may end up reading a lot of dreck too. How much dreck are you willing to go through in the interest of finding the one gem? That is a question you are thrifty reader have to answer, or as they say, your mileage may vary.
By the way, don’t be like the author. Go visit your public library once in a while. I may have a small bias given I am a librarian. However, I work for an academic library, and even I visit my local public library once in a while to get my fix of more pop-type of books. Plus my public library also has DVDs, so you do get some pretty good free (as in your tax dollars help pay for it) entertainment options. In addition, if you want e-books, as I mentioned, your local public library likely has its own e-book collection, and the selection will likely be better and better curated than a lot of the stuff you will find out there on the internet. This is especially true when it comes to those “non professional stories.” In the end, I am not saying to avoid reading free ebooks online if you can find them. I am saying to adjust your expectations of what you may find accordingly. Oh, and visit your public library once in a while. Your local friendly librarians will be glad to see you.
Another post and another list of books I would like to read some day. One thing is certain. I will never run out of books to read, and that is a good thing. I also hope my four readers out there find something good to read from these lists once in a while. So, if you pick up a book from any of these posts, please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
For anyone who has not read these posts before, this is about me listing books I would like to read. I include the source that gave me the idea about the book, say a review, an article, so on, in order to be able to remind myself why I included the book on the list. In these posts, I also include any lists and bibliographies on topics that may be of interest.
Items about books I want to read:
- In the United States, and let us be honest, a few other parts of the world, poverty can be big business for the right people doing the exploiting. In the U.S., they raise that to an art form when it comes to taking programs meant to help the poor and those in need and trying to privatize them to make money for exploitative corporations while taking those funds away from those that need them. Via The Atlantic, here is a discussion of the issue and highlight of the book The Poverty Industry.
- Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, talks about what the hell happened to the Democratic Party in the United States. One of the things he argues is that “the problem with establishment Democrats is not that they have been bribed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others, but that long ago they determined to supplant the GOP as the party of Wall Street.” I would say in essence, the Democrats in the U.S. have become “Republican-lite.” Story via Democracy Now!
- On a bit of humor along with eroticism, apparently at one point hipster erotica was a thing, and Hannah Wilde wrote a few books on it to the point she has a series of The Complete Hipster Gangbangs (link to Amazon on this one. I am sure you understand this will not be in WorldCat anytime soon). The story comes via VICE. Sometimes it amazes me the things I can find out there.
- Here is a possible addition to my list of books for the 2016 Horror Reading Challenge, which I am doing this year. The book is Blood Related, and it was reviewed at Horror Novel Reviews. Here is a little something from the review: “We have a very rough-around-the-edges family. A serial killer for a father, drunk for a mother, and twin boys who witness more than any child should.”
- Laugh now, but in some distant future, men could be forced to make love to beautiful women. At least that is how Pagan Passions would put it. You can download the book for free here (it is in public domain). And yes, a few libraries still have it too. The book was featured at the WTF Bad Science Fiction Covers blog. It is a pity the blog went on hiatus. It was an amusing blog.
- Tarot with Jeff recently got a book as a birthday gift from a friend. I need to find more friends like he has. My friends do not get me jack and shit for my birthday. Anyhow, the book he received was Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot, and it looks like a good book for me to read to help along in my Tarot learning journey.
- Speaking of Tarot, when I started my journey to learn how to read Tarot cards, I started it with a Marseilles Tarot deck. While I do like the deck for being a classic and bringing me some pleasant memories of youth, I could not do much reading with it because the Minor Arcana is not illustrated. I was just not able to develop my intuition enough, and I had to keep constantly turning to the book. So, I switched the deck I use now, the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, which is a modern, more visual deck. However, I do intend to go back to using my Marseilles once I feel I have learned the basic meanings well enough to need less visual prompts. Unlike the Rider Waite Smith Tarot system, there are not many books to help you learn the Marseilles deck. Well, lucky for me, The Moon Parlor mentions a book just for that: Marseille Tarot: Towards The Art of Reading. The other big author in learning Marseilles Tarot in modern times is Alejandro Jodorowsky, who is also mentioned in the post. His book is The Way of Tarot, a book that I have seen mentioned in a few other places, and I am likely to add to my collection. When it comes to learning Marseilles Tarot, I need all the help I can get.
- Via Death and Tarot, a video highlighting the book 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack. From what I understand, this is considered a classic in Tarot studies.
- Via Benebell Wen’s blog, a review of Foundations of the Esoteric Traditions. The book is a companion to the Tarot of the Holy Light Tarot deck. As it is self-published, just visit her post for links and details.
- At the Eternal Athena Tarot blog they’ve been reading the book Tarot as a Way of Life.
- Moving to other topics, Dick Gregory recently wrote an essay for college students about knowing when to pick your battles and what really matters in activism. He also mentions his autobiography, which he entitled Nigger, which the essay has inspired me to add to my reading list.
- I find old paperbacks and their covers fascinating, including the so-called sleazy ones. Well, there is a book out on those covers highlighted at Bookgasm. The book is Sin-a-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties edited by B. Astrid Daley and Adam Parfrey. The book is also highlighted in this article from Dangerous Minds.
- Like tacos? Want to learn more about tacos? Then maybe the book Tacopedia could help. It was featured at Wink Books.
- The Library Juice blog points to a new journal in library science, the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Sounds like one to add to my reading list. Their first issue has a review of one of Library Juice’s books, which is of interest to me. The book is Where are all the Librarians of Color? The Experiences of People of Color in Academia.
- The Rural Blog has a post on “Book about extended Appalachian family helps explain trials of the lesser-educated working class.” The book is Hillbilly Elegy.
- Via Democracy Now!, a discussion on how Donald Trump made his fortune with public subsidies and political favors with a reporter who has tracked and covered Trump since Trump early days. That reported is author of a Trump biography: Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention. The book was published in 1991, but it has recently been released again as an e-book with some updates. For those wanting to learn more about the man, this book is a possibility, and in the report, the author provides various updates.
Lists and bibliographies:
- My friend Mark Lindner read and reviewed the first two books of the manga series Black Butler. This is one I have had my eye on for a while. My daughter has read some of it, and she also has good things to say about it.
- June is LGBTQIA Pride Month. Library Juice highlights some books that may be of interest to librarians and information professionals during that month and the rest of the year.
- Signature Reads every so often puts out some nice articles with book lists on various current topics of interest. Here are some of their recent lists:
- “Come November: 5 Books to Understand the Modern World.” These are books you may want to read to get ready for the U.S. 2016 elections.
- “7 Books to Understand Our Shaky Relationship with Law Enforcement.“
- “The Islamic State: 4 Books to Understand ISIS.”
Getting this done on time this time. This is the list of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for June 2016. If you missed any, please click on the book title links to check out the reviews. As always, if you read any of the books, you are welcome to comment and let me know your thoughts on the book.
- I continue my journey of learning how to read Tarot cards. I acquired the Easy Tarot kit published by Llewellyn Worldwide. The kit includes the book Easy Tarot Handbook, which I read and reviewed. It also includes a deck of the Gilded Tarot cards by artist Ciro Marchetti, and I reviewed the deck with the book review.
- I enjoyed reading about Lando Calrissian before he ran Cloud City in Star Wars: Lando.
- I finally finished reading a big Warhammer 40,000 book. This month I reviewed The Blood Angels Omnibus. This book contains two novels, a short story, and an appendix.
- This next book about Tarot was just a nice little art book, and it probably ignited my collector lust a bit more. The book is simply titled Tarot Cards.
- I finished reading the Battle Pope series. Here are my reviews for Battle Pope, Volume 3: Pillow Talk and Battle Pope, Volume 4: Wrath of God.
- I read Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal, which is the book that was basis for the film Black Mass starring Johnny Depp. In the review, I also include some additional thoughts on the film, which I watched after reading the book.
- And the last review for this month was The Creative Tarot. This is not just a book about Tarot. It is a book about creativity, so writers and artists, whether you use Tarot or not, you can still get some good use out of this book. For me, it is a great book for writers as well as a good resources for learning Tarot.
I recently came across this list of “100 Must-Read Books About Books.” I tend to be very skeptical when I see one of these 100 books lists of whatever the topic is that inspired the compiler because very often the stuff on those lists is just not that great. In the case of some so-called classics that are being forgotten, perhaps they are best left forgotten. Now in terms of books about books, as a librarian and as an avid reader, I find the topic interesting. I do read some books about books, mainly nonfiction. I have found that fiction “about books” is not really that great, and often the “books” are actually tangential and not the main focus even. In terms of the nonfiction in this topic, there are some books I even reread now and then.
So, what have I read from the list? Not as much as you would think. Some of what I have read is good, and there are even one or two I might recommend. Others not so much, and there are even books I have abandoned because they were just bad. I am going to comment a bit on the ones I have read, that I may have tried to read, or have on my TBR list. If I reviewed the book, I will link to it.
From their fiction list:
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. I read this eons ago (I think it was before I started reviewing books), and I remember hating it. I mainly hated the ending. Yea, there is something about books, mostly because there is some reading of Balzac going on but other than that it’s about two guys pining for a girl.
- The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I read this in its original Spanish. I remember it being a very intricate book. The attention to detail about the antiquarian book trade is something that folks who find that interesting will enjoy. As I note in my review, there is a movie based on the book, but it leaves a lot of stuff out from the book.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I am familiar with it mainly because I had to teach it in high school. I probably will not be rereading it any time soon due to that experience.
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Another one that I read ages ago. I remember struggling to get through it; Eco packs a lot into the book. You can tell the guy is a literary theorist. However, I felt reading it was worth it, and I am planning on rereading it down the road.
- The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This is one I dropped. I actually picked it up in original Spanish as well, and I tried to read it. It was terrible in terms of the writing and the sappy material. What the hell readers see in this author to make this such an overrated book is beyond me. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books was an intriguing idea, and it is probably the reason so many librarians drool over this book, but it is just not a good book. You want stories about books and depositories and so on? Go read some Borges.
From their nonfiction list:
- Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl. Nancy Pearl is the uber heroine for most librarians, especially those who do reader’s advisory. Do not get me wrong; she has done a lot to get people reading. However, she has sort of become a “franchise” and books after this first one feel more like she is stretching the brand. She has not reached Chicken Soup for the Soul series level yet. I read this one and her second book, More Book Lust. They are nice books to browse, and as I said in my reviews, the first book is the best of the set.
- The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read by Stuart Kelly. Another one I dropped. I thought this really had potential, but damn it was one seriously boring reading.
- The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski. I have this on my TBR list, but I am highly skeptical about picking it up. I tried reading his other book on the history of pencils, The Pencil: a History of Design and Circumstance, but I dropped it because it was, again, a seriously boring book. Now keep in mind, I enjoy microhistory books. Those are books that delve deeply into a single subject, so it pained me to drop that one. So on the one hand, I want to give this other book a chance, but on the other hand, ugh.
- The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. I recently read this one, and it was one I really liked.
- Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. Read it a while back.
- A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. Another one I read a while back. This is one I am planning on rereading soon. Manguel is a great and very evocative writer. Not listed, amazingly enough, is Manguel’s other book, The Library at Night, which is excellent, and if you are a librarian, it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy too.
- A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books by Harold Rabinowitz. This is one of my favorite books. In fact, I listed it in my recent post on comfort books.
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. I read this. Hated it. The book went on to become a selection for women’s book clubs wanting to read something “edgy” as it deals with book censorship in Iran and women there trying to read illicit books. Problem is the book is not that good in terms of writing and when you get down to it not that interesting either. But I guess after a few glasses of wine during book club, it may look better.
- Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins. I liked this one, but I also had some reservations about it. You can check out my review.
- So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson. I read this too. It had its pluses and minuses. Again, feel free to click the link and check out my full review.
- A few other nonfiction titles from the list I have on my TBR list:
- Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages by Michael Popek. I do follow the blog for Forgotten Bookmarks, so I am interested in seeing what selections made the book.
- A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes. I have read other books by Basbanes, and oddly enough, have not read this one yet. I do have it on my shelf to get to it down the road.
- The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. My local public library has this an audiobook, and since I am doing an audiobooks reading challenge for 2016, I may pick it up.
- The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. I have heard good things about this one, so maybe one day I will get to it.
- Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. I want to read this mostly because I have read something else by these authors.
I have read 13 out of 100 with some additional drops. Do keep in mind that though it is a big list, there are books missing. Have you folks read any of the books on the list? Do you folks have a favorite book about books and reading that did not make the list? Let me know in the comments. If it was good, tell me why it was good, and I will add it to my TBR list. If it was bad, let me know why I should avoid it. Folks talking about books, good and bad, after all is one way reader’s advisory works out.