reading

Large Libraries Provide Reading Potential

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Just a quick note – now that I have changed cities and jobs…

The Chicago Maroon (image from University Archives) (accessed 12 November 2019)

‘Tis so good to have access to such a large academic library collection – my reading is not met with any significant limits. Yes, I know, not every library has every book by every author. Not even Library of Congress has EVERY book (and they have the largest collection in the world).

I have found some obscure theological works, books on physics and time, international literature, as well as some of the best apologetic books in history. If by chance, something is not available in the collection, I make use of the fabulous ILL department (which, by the way, is one of the busiest in the United States).

I guess then I will keep reading.

#RadioBookClub v. 7 – The Expendable Man

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The time has come once again to get into some words – LIVE – on the radio.

This is our 7th such discussion over the internet waves – thanks be to Dennis Price of Home Improvements by Dennis Price.

We will be reading THE EXPENDABLE MAN by Dorothy B. Hughes (1904-1993).

expendableman_image

 

Time/Place: 16 January 2018 – 8 PM EST.

Location for listening: Radio Fairfax.

Number to call with comments and ideas: 703-560-TALK (8255).

We look forward to the discussion and your comments.

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)

Book Club on the Radio, v. 3

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Our #Radiobookclub group is doing another Book-Chat on the Radio.

The event is January 20, 2015 at 8 pm on Fairfax Public Access Radio.

We’re reading Dana Shavin’s The Body Tourist.

bodytourist

(cover courtesy of the author’s website, accessed 11 Jan 2015)

You can order the book directly from the publisher, Little Feather Books.

I won’t be there this time, not even as a long-distance call-in. But Jenn Lawrence of @Indiethursday and Jenn’s Bookshelves, Ellen Clair Lamb and Jill of One More Page Books will all be there to do a live-close reading, review the work as a piece of writing, and surely talk about the book’s observations on anorexia.

Listeners can call in (please do): (703)-560-8255 and maybe watch a few Tweets with the #radiobookclub hashtag.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

Book Club on the Radio, v. 2

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‘Tis official, were organizing the second edition of #radiobookclub – set for June 10, 2014 @ 8 PM EST.

Sponsored by the 21st Century Librarians at Metamedia Management (yours truly), the good folks at One More Page Books. Ellen Clair Lamb and Jenn Lawrence of #INDIETHURSDAY, we’re doing another book club on the radio. We spun the wheel and have chosen another good title. This one is very different from the Elmore Leonard we read before.

This time, we’re reading THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly.

 

Book of Lost Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll be going live on The Radio Hotline With Dennis Price at Radio Fairfax at 8 PM (EST) on June 10.

Please call in and talk to the panel about the book, or any other John Connolly title you like.

The number to call is (703)-560-8255 and the radio show can be streamed from the web here.

We look forward to hearing from you on the radio.

 

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

 

Book Club on Radio Hotline – Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch

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Yep, a Book Club on the Radio – hashtag: #bookclubradio

Sponsored by the 21st Century Librarians at Metamedia Management, LLC and the kind booksellers at One More Page Books, located in Arlington, Va / I am mediating a live book chat hosted on Radio Hotline with Dennis Price of Home Improvements by Dennis Price on Radio Fairfax – Northern Virginia’s public access radio station. Thank you Dennis.

One More Page Books

On March 4, 2014 at 8 PM – EST we will be chatting about crime writing and mystery style in Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch. You can order your copy of the book at One More Page Books by calling 703 -300-9746 or your local bookstore. The novel was adapted into film by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown (1997) . Leonard’s style is fun and punchy. There have been several of this books adapted into film over the years and will be really fun to talk about any & all ideas we like about the book, film adaptations, or mystery writing in general. Just bring your thoughts and questions – whatever they are.

The discussion will feature live, in the studio: myself (Jesse), Terry and Ellen of One More Page Books. Even though Jennifer of Jenn’s Bookshelves book blog and #indiethursday was formerly planning to to be there, she will be promoting the event. We expect the chat to move around as we feel – though I will come prepared with a few questions and ideas. We ask that you please call in the radio at any time during the discussion so we can add more and more to the mix. The number to call-in is: 703-560-8255. If you want to join in the discussion on Twitter, you can follow or chat with any of us above under the hashtag #bookclubradio. Our names above are each linked to our Twitter profiles. It’ll be fun. Please join us.

9780385332804

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

A German-Language Translation of a Poem (1)

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A German-Language Translation of a Poem (1)”

By Jesse A Lambertson

As an instance of self-education, I took a poem by a poet I respect and translated it into German. I do not plan to make any money on this translation. I want it to act as an educational action that adds to the greater “library” of poems by this poet. I ran several searches through OCLC’s World Cat in order to track down local copies of German language collections (in translation) by this poet. That search resulted in items found neither in local library collections nor in any library collections anywhere. Here is my translation and maybe the first time this poem has been translated into German. I used my understanding of German and two lexicons in the process. If your reading teaches you who this poet is, you are welcome to put that information into the reply box below. Enjoy.

TranslationisanArt

Allein im Bibliothek, Ich war von Menschen umgeben,

Da, in der Lesesaal, allein, jede Mensch ist allein,

Es gibt eine falsche Ruhe, in der Saal, Die Luft ist Stille,

Es gibt viele Leselampen auf den Tisch,

Die spielen die Texte erkennen und lessen und verstehen schau,

Die Leselampen breitet ihre Licht auf der Bedeutungen von der Wörter aus,

Aber, die Seiten sind leer unter dem blöd unnachgiebic Blick von der Leselampen,

Die Sieten nicht sein leer gedulgic warten,

Bis ein Geist lese, die Seiten leer bleiben,

Das Geist über das schwarze Fluss schreiten,

Mit Persephone die Königin der Unterwelt unterhalten sein lessen musst

Die Königin der Unterwelt sich setzte nähe der Mann dass Sie hier von Enna deportiert,

Der stumm und taub Hades, Der König von dem Tote Buchstabe,

Sie sich in der Robe von unsere tausend Missverständnisse auf dem heilig Texte bedeckt.

I am open to discussion about the translation itself to improve my understanding of German. You can reply in the box below or at Twitter.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

Library Journal Review of Herman and Weisenburger’s Gravity’s Rainbow Analysis

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My newest review for Library Journal has been published. This starred review looks at Luc Herman’s and Steve Weisenburger’s analysis of Thomas Pynchon‘s Gravity’s Rainbow from the point of view of theorists and ideas prevalent in the Long Sixties. Their book is called, Gravity’s Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom, and is forthcoming from University of Georgia Press.

I am always challenged reading Thomas Pynchon, critical approaches to his work and appreciated the opportunity to review this book. Thank you Library Journal.

GRdomfreedom(Please click on book-cover thumbnail above to get the review from Library Journal)

Library Journal Review of Ford Madox Ford

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My review of Pallas Athene’s 2013 publication of Ford Madox Ford’s impressionistic memoirs, Memories of a Pre-Raphaelite Youth, has been published in the 01 October 2013 issue of Library Journal.

library-journalThe memoirs in this volume have been selected from an earlier, now out-of-print, edition of Ford’s memoirs, edited by Michael Killigrew in 1971, titled Your mirror to My times: The Selected Autobiographies and Impressions of Ford Madox Ford.

Depths of the Phantom Library

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Depths of the Phantom Library:

Jacques Bonnet Reaches for the Unreachable.

Jacques Bonnet writes in, Phantoms on the Bookshelves, of a vast library. No, not the Borgesian library of “The Library of Babel” or “The Book of Sand,” but a personal library he has collected for his own use – some 40,000 + volumes. Massive. I am a fan generally of books describing avid readers and collectors (though I am mostly of the first type) – books such as that fabulous pair of titles by Nicholas A. Basbanes, A Gentle Madness and Patience & Fortitude.

PTBookshelves.Bonnet.cover.accesed18August2013I have been recently rereading Jacques Bonnet’s book. In my progress through that book, I also found this essay/review piece of writing by Alonzo McBride called, “Phantoms and Personal Libraries,” which made stylistic sense to me and by acknowledging the metaphor of books and libraries as phantoms, I thought it perfectly appropriate to bring to light the essay and the book again. In a previous post of mine, I mentioned a quote setting up Bonnet’s premise of the blurred line between what makes a personal library and an institutional library.

The quote is, ““…to return to the library. Once it has been established, it [the library] tends to become an unavoidable transit zone for reality, a sort of vortex that sucks in everything that happens to us” (100).

 The library is a cultural heritage space as much as it is a personal heritage space. Sometimes these spaces are the same in space and sometimes they are not. The focus for Jacques Bonnet’s book is the personal library as memory collector for his own life. Even with that “narrow” focus, the book tackles nearly every issue institutional libraries must tackle except maybe ones related to archival technology such as finding aids or physical handling best practices, code such as XML and its publication on the web with CSS or anything having to do with web archiving. Bonnet certainly brings up the internet as it relates to text encoding, information searching, book buying experiences and the like. And in this humble blogger’s opinion, all the above technical services could be extrapolated to take account of Bonnet’s collection. Or…he could reissue the book with all the ways be built a homegrown OPAC for his personal use. 😉

Specifically, Bonnet discusses issues of categorization (the eternal question). He mentions the French OULIPO writer, Georges Perec, when he makes his “brave attempt at listing the possible methods of classifying one’s books: “alphabetically; by continent or country; by colour; by date of acquisition; by date of publication; by size; by genre; by literary period; by language; by frequency of consultation; by binding; by series” (37). One sees from this list how several of the categorization headings would be preferred by a person over an institution – “by date of acquisition” as the best example. Yet, even this category system applies to libraries that have a “recently arrived” or “new” section to encourage library users to catch up on what’s current. Except, even this classification does take into account the difference between newly acquired due to recent publication or newly acquired due to replacement for damage etc. Some of the other categories (which obviously fails to take into account anything like LC Classification or Universal Dewey) are well suited for research libraries – such as “by literary period” or even “binding” in a rare books special collection. The largest flaw, however, in Perec’s classification is the total lack of subject access (which has to be the single most challenging classification of them all) – though some of the other categories work with subject access.

Bonnet does bring to light one aspect of his own classification I will write as ABSTRACT vs. CONCRETE (102-103). In the first he puts subjects such as theology, religion, philosophy, literary topics and science. It is interesting he defines “science” as abstract instead of concrete. In the second category he drops in history, anthropology, biography and documents (though it is not clear to what this term applies). One can appreciate the presuppositions necessary to refer to one subject as abstract and another as concrete even though both may be examples of humans thinking and writing their words. I recommend everyone reading this also go out and take a look at the subdivisions within Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Dewey, and thesauri such as the one for art and architecture published by Getty by first examining the depth and granularity of each system within its own rules and then by looking through World Cat and Library of Congress catalog records.

I fully understand Bonnet’s book is personal – not designed to be an institutional best standard for understanding large collections. But even from this personal point of view, it is not without meaning (I recommend this book be on the curriculum for all ischools). Other examples of meaning come through his acknowledgment of the internet’s impact on not just information as a whole as it relates to libraries, but also the procedures by which a person or institution acquires new materials – scaled digital content in the form of periodicals searchable through aggregation technologies or the purchasing of new print items such as monographs from academic presses (though he talks about how collectors use the internet to search for titles unavailable locally).

The truth is the book is simply pleasurable to read. And it asks the same questions all libraries ask themselves: how long should a title be kept in a research collection (or a public library) if it circulates infrequently?; how does one best use space limitations (of which every library has a few struggles as such)?; and what happens in the event of the death of the collector or a fire in the library?

Bonnet includes a quote by Petite Larousse (a lexicon) of the term, “fantôme [phantom]” – a sheet or card inserted to mark the place of a book removed from a library shelf, or a document which has been removed” (110).

The remainder of what was there before… What was there before? Was it a resource that got weeded from the collection? Was it a library that became underfunded over time? Was it a trace of an object that was reformatted as a digital object available on the open web or behind a subscription pay-wall? Something is missing. For Bonnet, even if he chooses, as do so many other librarians (personal and institutional), not to lend any out any items from his collection, the fundamental missing feature among such ideas as not having time to read every book in the library, not having enough shelf space to best hold each item and not having a perfect classification system of either knowledge or objects is lack of total control of the library. The library, as the first quite implies, is made of a river of occurrences that enter and exit the way time and life itself enters and exits at varied and uncertain rates. I would say Jacques Bonnet’s fun little book for book geeks revels in, and still tries to make sense from, the powerful uncertainty in this world.

One must be willing to change as the collection itself changes.

The question arises then if anyone will be able to insert a fantôme in every changing moment life as it changes into something else so we’ll be reminded of what used to be.

Thank you for reading.
Jesse L.
Twitter: @jltaglich

Reference: Bonnet, Jacques. Phantoms on the Bookshelves. Trans. from French by Siân Reynolds. NY, NY: The Overlook Press, 2010.