Month: October 2015

#Bookclubradio v.4 – #Quicksand 22 Dec 2015

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The time has come again for #RadioBookClub.

This is the 4th such edition we have done and this one should be really fun.


First, the logistics>>>

Date: 22 December 2015.

Time: 8:00 pm (probably)

Location: Fairfax Public Access Radio Radio Hotline.

Host: Dennis Price of Home Improvements by Dennis Price.

We will be reading Quicksand by Steve Toltz.

The publisher describes it as, “A daring, brilliant new novel from Man Booker Prize finalist Steve Toltz, for fans of Dave Eggers, Martin Amis, and David Foster Wallace: a fearlessly funny, outrageously inventive dark comedy about two lifelong friends.”

The group in the studio will be: Kristin, Ellen Clair, Heather and myself.

Should indeed be fun…and challenging.

Buy your copy at your local bookstore. I purchased mine from One More Page Books.

Access the audio via the Radio Hotline URL, log into Twitter, use #bookclubradio and call in: 703-560-8255.

Thank you.


Limit of Time for #Librarian of Congress

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According to the Library Journal, Congress is debating whether to put a 10-year limit on the position of Librarian of Congress.

It has been a life-position since 1802.

According to the article, the Senate has already passed the bill unanimously – which has then sent it to the House to vote.

Curious, what do people think about this?

Supposedly, ALA is supportive of the change.


Thank you for reading.


Jorge Luis Borges and #Book Suggestions

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Open Culture has a post listing the top 74 books, as suggested by Jorge Luis Borges, a reader should have in their personal library.

openculture(click on the image to be redirected to the posting at Open Culture)

Some of the items I am quite familiar with, but some I had not heard of – neither generally nor in connection with JLB.

Jorge Luis Borges’ terse, mind-expanding stories reshaped modern fiction. He was one of the first authors to mix high culture with low, merging such popular genres as science fiction and the detective story with heady philosophical discourses on authorship, reality and existence. His story “The Garden of the Forking Paths,” which describes a novel that is also a labyrinth, presaged the hypertextuality of the internet age. His tone of ironic detachment influenced generations of Latin American authors. The BBC argued that Borges was the most important writer of the 20th century.

Of course, Borges wasn’t just an author. When not writing fiction, Borges worked as a literary critic, occasional film critic, a librarian, and, for a spell, as the director of the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires. His tastes were famously eclectic….

1. Stories by Julio Cortázar (not sure if this refers to Hopscotch, Blow-Up and Other Stories, or neither)
2. & 3. The Apocryphal Gospels
4. Amerika and The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
5. The Blue Cross: A Father Brown Mystery by G.K. Chesterton
6. & 7. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
8. The Intelligence of Flowers by Maurice Maeterlinck
9. The Desert of the Tartars by Dino Buzzati
10. Peer Gynt and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
11. The Mandarin: And Other Stories by Eça de Queirós
12. The Jesuit Empire by Leopoldo Lugones
13. The Counterfeiters by André Gide
14. The Time Machine and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
15. The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
16. & 17. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
18. Mathematics and the Imagination by Edward Kasner
19. The Great God Brown and Other Plays, Strange Interlude, and Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill
20. Tales of Ise by Ariwara no Narihara
21. Benito Cereno, Billy Budd, and Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
22. The Tragic Everyday, The Blind Pilot, and Words and Blood by Giovanni Papini
23. The Three Impostors
24. Songs of Songs tr. by Fray Luis de León
25. An Explanation of the Book of Job tr. by Fray Luis de León
26. The End of the Tether and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
27. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
28. Essays & Dialogues by Oscar Wilde
29. Barbarian in Asia by Henri Michaux
30. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
31. Buried Alive by Arnold Bennett
32. On the Nature of Animals by Claudius Elianus
33. The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
34. The Temptation of St. Antony by Gustave Flaubert
35. Travels by Marco Polo
36. Imaginary lives by Marcel Schwob
37. Caesar and Cleopatra, Major Barbara, and Candide by George Bernard Shaw
38. Macus Brutus and The Hour of All by Francisco de Quevedo
39. The Red Redmaynes by Eden Phillpotts
40. Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard
41. The Golem by Gustav Meyrink
42. The Lesson of the Master, The Figure in the Carpet, and The Private Life by Henry James
43. & 44. The Nine Books of the History of Herodotus by Herdotus
45. Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo
46. Tales by Rudyard Kipling
47. Vathek by William Beckford
48. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
49. The Professional Secret & Other Texts by Jean Cocteau
50. The Last Days of Emmanuel Kant and Other Stories by Thomas de Quincey
51. Prologue to the Work of Silverio Lanza by Ramon Gomez de la Serna
52. The Thousand and One Nights
53. New Arabian Nights and Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
54. Salvation of the Jews, The Blood of the Poor, and In the Darkness by Léon Bloy
55. The Bhagavad Gita and The Epic of Gilgamesh
56. Fantastic Stories by Juan José Arreola
57. Lady into Fox, A Man in the Zoo, and The Sailor’s Return by David Garnett
58. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
59. Literary Criticism by Paul Groussac
60. The Idols by Manuel Mujica Láinez
61. The Book of Good Love by Juan Ruiz
62. Complete Poetry by William Blake
63. Above the Dark Circus by Hugh Walpole
64. Poetical Works by Ezequiel Martinez Estrada
65. Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
66. The Aeneid by Virgil
67. Stories by Voltaire
68. An Experiment with Time by J.W. Dunne
69. An Essay on Orlando Furioso by Atilio Momigliano
70. & 71. The Varieties of Religious Experience and The Study of Human Nature by William James
72. Egil’s Saga by Snorri Sturluson
73. The Book of the Dead
74. & 75. The Problem of Time by J. Alexander Gunn”

(accessed 11 October 2015)

#Cultural Heritage #Conservation Efforts in the Middle East

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       First of all, let me state that the happenings and notions discussed at this event, now one week ago, on 01 October 2015, left one with plenty to think about regarding the efforts and responsibilities of libraries and librarians around the globe. These responsibilities are as much about the future of preservation as they are about embracing a full and nuanced representation of the past in as many formats as possible.
       The event was organized by the Washington, DC chapter of Special Libraries Association – of which the current president is Deena Adelman.
       She introduced the evening generally, noted the DC Chapter is celebrating its 75th Anniversary Jubilee, and then introduced the MC for the evening, Michael Albin, who, as of the time of this writing, is a member of the Board of Directors for Voices for Iraq.
Voices for Iraq
       The three presenters for the evening contributed much to the discussion about issues in preservation and conservation in the Middle East.
       The first speaker was Michael Albin. His paper was called, Vulnerability of libraries and archives and restoration of what’s been damaged” – currently posted at Voices for Iraq. He talked about the inconsistencies in getting information about the state of libraries and archives out of Iraq, made mention of the International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) decision to make the Qatar National Library the Arabic materials preservation and conservation center in the region, discussed the FBI list and warnings against the illicit trading and selling of cultural heritage materials and suggested that libraries and organizations get news verified about regional happenings before it gets submitted for publication because he states that much of it is either sent in a panic or is rather reactionary. He also expressed some thoughts that libraries and archives are not as prioritized as highly as sites and buildings in conservation and preservation efforts. He cited examples in Iraq and Egypt.
       The second speaker of the evening was George Pappagiannis  of UNESCO. His presentation tackled related ideas generally but explored completely different aspects of it – he talked about legal provisions and frameworks that surround UNESCO’s efforts to conserve and protect cultural heritage globally.
Specificallly, he mentioned the several conventions that have been put into place over the decades and that a weird law followed by the United States meant they stopped their annual dues for UNESCO. It seems the US is a non-dues paying member even though membership means dues should be paid. The US is now 4 years behind in its dues. As a result, when asked about how librarians can get involved, Pappagiannis suggested we contact our congress people and ask Congress to get current in its dues – in part because the dues sit about $80 million per annum and this is money which can be used for even greater conservation and preservation efforts globally.
       The third speaker, Mary Jane Deeb, head of the Library of Congress’ African & Middle Eastern Division, suggested a very upbeat approach to preservation and conservation work. Her presentation was about the synchronicity that occurs when good things happen in libraryland that allow for protection and conservation of artifacts and resources. She said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” – which was really her mantra for the whole presentation. Specifically, she talked about an Afghani collector of photographs documenting all aspects of life in Afghanistan going all the way back to the Russian invasion of the country in 1979. This collection needed some funding to be collected and made available – a funder came through after some time to get the work done. She also talked about what seemed to her as a controlled burn by the Baathist party of their archives in the Iraqi national library at the start of the US-led occupation and war. But it seemed to her and her team that this burn was only meant for those items only – not anything else in the collection or the stacks. In addition, she praised the Shiite clerics who saved so many Iraqi manuscripts during the same time period. These were just a few of the examples she offered. Her emphasis, in tandem with Michael Albin’s earlier, was that though there are MANY challenging events in the work of preservation and conservation, not everything is doom & gloom. It was an inspirational presentation and was a superb conclusion to the trio of presentations.
       There was lots of chatting over catered hummus, grape leaves and baklava, thanks to the hosting institution, Bloomberg, BNA, and professional bonding over issues related to the responsibilities of libraries, museums, related institutions to protect and promote cultural heritage. 
       Thank you for reading.