Thursday, June 11, 2009

Special Snowflakes

Happy BTT, everyone! I blew off last week's for some reason, even though it was really good. But I'm back this week. I also visited the library and finished one of the books already, so I have some more post fodder coming! But, for today...

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)

But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.

What niche books do YOU read?

Well, this is a pretty easy one. My "niche books" generally consist of museum-type books. The New Museum Registration Methods, edited by Buck and Gilmore, is just about the best $75 I've ever spent on a book. Yes, it also acts as a surefire cure for insomnia, especially the chapters on complying with the Fish and Wildlife Department regulations. I'd rather go to jail than read all of that! But there's a lot of really helpful stuff in there. During my summer internship, when I had to physically mark collections tracking numbers on a really varied collection, it helped a lot. It sounds easy, but...where's the best place to mark a number on a kitchen table? what do you do about leather? what do you do with something that's small and skinny, like a set of toenail clippers? Remember, it's got to be reversible, but not wear off on its own, easy to find by future staff but unnoticeable by museum guests.

Aside from the technical stuff, books on issues in museums are also interesting, and often read by a slightly wider audience. The Medici Conspiracy deals with forgeries and sketchy provenance. Give Me My Father's Body deals with the issues of human remains on display and also of ethnocentrism in museums. Displays of Power discusses controversial museum exhibits. These are the ones I'm more likely to read just for fun, but I'm not sure the general public finds them as fun as I do.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Where I work we get a ton of museum books and they are great fun to look at.