Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Stench of Death: last weekend's library haul

Dark times are upon our library system. Our county executive called for the system's budget to be slashed, causing public outcry but suspiciously low-key response from the institution's trustees. At the eleventh hour, county legislators voted to restore the funding that had been slashed. Our county executive is notorious, though, for simply ignoring things of that nature. Yeah, he's an asshole.

But the plan that was devised to deal with these cuts entails cutting hours at a good portion of their branches. At the branch I frequent, however, they decided to cut not hours but services. They have a wonderful humanities/nonfiction collection that's very fun to walk through. On the second floor, they have a large collection of business and employment-related resources for all levels of the job market. Whether you're the type who needs a book to tell you to shower and dress nicely for a job interview, or whether you're looking for pointers on how to start your own company, that section of the library can help. What they're doing is closing that floor, moving a good portion of the job stuff into the humanities, and kicking the humanities stuff into closed stacks.

This transition was well underway when I wandered through the doors last weekend. Lots and lots of empty shelves. Fewer employees around, already. Very sad stuff.

Anyway, I got a fair amount of books, although it was another one of those visits where the majority of my haul was of dubious interest past the initial impulse. So here's the list:

Vamp: the rise and fall of Theda Bara by Eve Golden. I know the name from the Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyworld (it features a "Teddy Beara"). Like Runnin' Wild, the documentary also inspired me to pick this one out.

Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild by David Stenn. Covered elsewhere on this blog.

Accordian Crimes by Annie Proulx. I like her a lot, and believe this is the only one I haven't read.

Hadrian's Wall: a novel by William Dietrich. It seems that I don't really see too many books about that period in England. I've seen the real thing, it'd be neat to know a little more about it.

The Blue Moon Circus by Michael Raleigh. This is a re-read. I can vividly remember getting it out of the Schenectady Library when I was doing my internship, lying on my loaned bed in my small apartment with the train noises drifting in through the open window, reading this book. It was just a joy. I bumped into it accidentally, grabbed it just to look at it again, and simply could not put it back.

Disco Boy by Dominc Knight. Goddamn this one. It was a seven-day book that I had no interest in one I got it home, but I kept it for three days too long. Nothing sucks worse than paying fines on something you didn't read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Part of my newspaper job is processing all the events that come in from the library, the senior center and the community at large. I think every single book club that submits has read this one. I decided to find out why.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Due to my newfound love of Charles Dickens, a recent Facebook meme about how many books you've read off a list purportedly developed by the BBC, and the season in general, I picked this one up.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I have no idea WTF it's about but love the title. I also noticed that book clubs around here read this.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'd always assumed this was some sort of crappy romantic melodrama. Then the movie came out and I found it what it was really about. Sounds cool, and creepy as hell.

I am Hutterite: the fascinating true story of a... by Mary-Ann Kirkby. The receipt cuts off the subtitle. But I picked this one out as my next read, and am currently about 50 pages in. Subcultures and religious communes interest me. I even used to work at a museum that used to be one. I like memoirs, I don't know much about the Hutterites and this one just stood out. A longer review will come, but it's interesting so far. The author does a good job of taking us inside without being too self-conscious and allowing the differences between mainstream and Hutterite cultures to emerge fairly naturally.

So that's my haul. I'm hoping there are some books there the next time I go.

1 comment:

chris said...

I've read Guernsey, so I'm eager to read your take on it. I'll see if I can scrounge up my review on

I also have Hutterite on my shelf to read. It's been there for a couple years, so perhaps it's time I actually read it!