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review 2018-06-01 00:59
Libraries in the Ancient World by Lionel Casson
Libraries in the Ancient World - Lionel Casson

This one was hard to rate. It's basically a history of books and libraries of the ancient Greco-Roman world. It started off fairly interesting but my interest didn't seem well matched to the length of the book, and it wasn't a long book. So I'm not sure whether the later chapters on Roman libraries and early Christian libraries were drier or more repetitive or what, but my interest flagged a little. I considered dropping down to 2.5 stars but thought that might be a bit harsh.

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review 2018-05-30 17:04
The Borrower / Rebecca Makkai
The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

 

I’m not sure yet why I didn’t love this book as much as I expected to. Perhaps it’s because I never have read Mary Norton’s The Borrowers , and therefore couldn’t appreciate the parallels that Makkai was making.

The main character, Lucy Hull, is a children’s librarian, who becomes overly concerned with the welfare of her favourite library patron, Ian Drake. Being in library work myself, I usually adore books involving libraries and librarians. This one also references many books of childhood, another characteristic that I generally appreciate.

Although I tend to prefer ambiguous or realistic endings, I had problems with the wrap-up of this novel. The whole plot line of a run-away boy with the librarian who aids and abets him just didn’t work for me as it has for other readers. Your mileage may vary, perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it right now. At any rate, I had to really push myself to finish the book and was left less than satisfied when I turned the final page.

But I truly did love some passages in the book, such as Lucy’s description of The Wizard of Oz:

And second, everyone is so weird, but they’re all completely accepted. It’s like, okay, you have a pumpkin head, and that guy’s made of tin, and you’re a talking chicken, but what the hell, let’s do a road trip.


That is one of the great pleasures of literature, its ability to make the unusual seem absolutely normal.

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text 2018-04-29 17:46
Another meme

1. How often do you visit your local library?

Once in a while. But less now than earlier, since my sister didn't get a job there. ;) Also, they have doors that open automatically and my two-year-old daughter almost ran out into traffic before my sister could catch her (I was elsewhere with my son).
 
2. If you could visit any library in the world, which would it be?

Strangely enough I think I'd pick the one in the town next to here. It's very nice, but so are most libraries, even the tiny one in a village close to here, where most of the local residents are awful, but the librarians are great.

3. What books do you have on hold at the library, if any?

I don't usually borrow printed books anymore, just e-books. The only thing I have to wait for is for the week to pass. We only get to borrow two books a week, but since I have children, I'm usually busy, so I don't have that many nights when I'm alert enough to read but don't get to borrow one.

4. At what age did you get your first library card?

I was four or five, but then we moved to a town with a bigger library, and they said children had to use their parents' library cards.

Source: crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/185851.html
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review 2018-03-28 06:37
Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore by Paula Guran (Editor)
Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore - Paula Guran

All the stories in this collection involve libraries or librarians. This collection of stories is a mixed bag - some stories were great, some original, others ok, a few I did not enjoy. A book to borrow first if you are interested.

 

 

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review 2018-03-26 16:59
Dear Fahrenheit 451 / Annie Spence
Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks - Annie Spence

A Gen-X librarian's snarky, laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life.

Librarians spend their lives weeding--not weeds but books! Books that have reached the end of their shelf life, both literally and figuratively. They remove the books that patrons no longer check out. And they put back the books they treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbors, at cocktail parties—everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We read her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda, as well as her snarky break-ups with Fifty Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveler’s Wife feel like classics, sure to strike a powerful chord with readers. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations.

 

I read this book to fill a Book Riot Reader Harder challenge (a book of essays). I can’t help but feel that I *should* have liked this book much more than I did. I suspect it’s not the author, it’s me. I’m a bit too old to appreciate the author's sense of humour fully, being on the cusp between the Baby Boomers and Gen-X. Still, her essays are letters written to books found while weeding the library and that should be right up my alley.

I did like the book. Three stars is not a bad rating in my opinion. I think the author would be fun to have a drink with and discuss all the weird things that one finds in the library stacks. I’m always amazed, as a library cataloguer, what our librarians choose to add to the collection and what I find while I’m looking for something else.

I was heartened that I had read or at least heard of many of the books mentioned (and some still lurk in my TBR pile).

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