Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inaugural Poem

In case you missed it, Elizabeth Alexander's poem, "Praise Song," which she recited at Obama's inauguration.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wrinkle in Time -- Madeleine L'Engle

I hate to admit I've never read A Wrinkle in Time. It seems like one of those books everyone should read. I have to say I wish I had read it years ago.

Wrinkle in Time centers on Meg, her precocious brother, Charles Wallace, and their friend, Calvin, as they try to rescue her father. There's a lot packed in the book -- there's time traveling. The children's father had been working on a tesseract, which is a wrinkle in time. There's also an evil thing -- the black thing -- that is threatening earth and other planets. There's the battle of the individual versus the group/ freedom of thought.

Parts of the book reminded me of 1984 -- full disclosure it's been years since I've read it -- such as when they visit a planet where everyone acts identically.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Libraries in tough economic times

I think we can all sadly agree that times are tough. But there’s still a place that’s free. It doesn’t cost to check out a book, read a magazine, surf the Web or work on your resume.

It’s the library.

According to the Boston Globe’s Derrick Jackson the Boston Public Library has seen a surge in visitors and activity.

“New library cards are up 32.7 percent from July to November of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007. Visits are up 13 percent, from 1.4 million visits to 1.6 million. Checkouts of books, CDs, and DVDs are up 7.2 percent overall over the last fiscal year. More telling is that checkouts have soared between 27 percent and 37 percent at the Egleston Square, Fields Corner, Jamaica Plain, and Orient Heights branches.”

The library is more than just books these days. Most libraries have tickets to museums, aquariums, etc. You can also take out music, movies and books on tape. My library has access to hundreds of other books and media at other libraries. There’s also a plethora of events geared towards families as well as activities like book club.

Unfortunately, many cities and towns constantly grapple with having enough financing to keep school and town libraries open/ fully functioning. When I was a reporter I saw too often the struggle towns went through to convince citizens that libraries are worth funding.

While many immediately understand the benefits of say police, fire or public works, the intangible benefits of a library can often be hard to understand. I think that libraries pay a crucial role in the community that can’t be underestimated. I’ve outlined a variety of services libraries offer, but most importantly they offer knowledge. There’s thousands of worlds in the library.

To quote a poem:

“Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!”

The library - a recession sanctuary -

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reading Resolutions

Shelf Talk has some great New Year’s Reading Resolutions and inspired me to create my own. Some may be similar to Shelf Talk's (they were good!)

1. I will read some children’s classics I’ve never read.
I’m currently reading A Wrinkle In Time, which I regret to say I’ve never read.

2. I will not feel guilty for reading children’s books/ lighter fare.
I have been dying to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. There I said it.

3. I will finish series that I’m in the middle of.
This will be year I finish His Dark Materials and the Twilight series.

4. I will read more poetry.

5. I will read at least one classic.
I have plenty of Dickens and Virginia Wolf I need to read.

6. I will read a book I’ve had for a very long time.
There’s Phil Ochs and two Woody Guthrie biographies that have been languishing in my apartment for too long.

7. I will use the library more often. First step: Start participating in the book club again.

8. I will continue to try not to hoard books as much as I do.
I could currently open my own lending library. I literally have BOXES of unread books. And #7 should remove the need to hoard.

9. I will enjoy reading and try not to make it a chore.
Too often I feel like I focus on how many books I read versus just enjoying the books I’m reading. I tend to be down on myself if I don’t finish a book “fast” enough.

10. I will make sure to regularly blog.
It’s not reading per se, but connected to my reading. I truly enjoy blogging about one of my favorite things – reading.

Do you have any “reading” resolutions?

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