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Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.

Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.

I like this book.

From things I'd heard before reading it, I expected grief to be a larger theme, but it's not, at least not in the first third of the book.

Even though it does the same thing that Pamela Dean's Tam Lin or Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary do, where they make you feel uncultured for not having read all the books the protagonist has (more sci-fi and less classic literature, though). I at least recognize most of the names she drops, even if I haven't read all of them. I think two of the big factors are that it's set in 1979 (I think), so there was less genre fiction, and less quality children/YA genre fiction, and she had to make the jump to adult sooner than I did. And (while admittedly, even though she explained what form she's in, I still have no clue how old she is), I started getting busy in high school and continued the trend in college, and have had less time to read.

I also guess that I've historically trended towards fantasy rather than sci-fi, although I enjoy both something like equally. And I never really did properly make the jump to adult fiction, although I wade in the shallows with equanimity. (Hypothesis: There is less quality sci-fi aimed at younger readers? Almost all of the big-name, genre, children's and YA authors that I'm coming up with do fantasy, or fantasy verging into the weird edges of sci-fi, or stuff like Artemis Fowl that's both. And when I think of sci-fi I was exposed to in childhood, I come up with Star Trek and Doctor Who and that's about it, even though my father is a sci-fi buff and read to us every morning and evening. Pern, I guess. But that's in the psuedo-fantasy sci-fi camp.)

And the marvelous thing about the Dean-esque "reading above your level" feeling is the incredible smugness you can get when you do recognize something. Like when she makes an offhand comment that The Communist Manifesto would be like living on Antarres, but hey, it would be better than school, or mentions Sylvia Engdahl (Even if the two books on my floor are not the ones she mentions, nor are the two that should be on my shelf but aren't (Speaking of, have I lent any of you an ex-library hardcover of Enchantress from the Stars or a new-ish hardcover of The Far Side of Evil? Because I used to have them and can't find them. I suspect Beth or Emily or possibly Dee, but it's worth asking)). But best of all is when I know that Tiptree is a woman and she doesn't (or at least, not yet).
3rdragon: (Default)
I found a copy of Neil Gaiman's M is for Magic on the discarded books truck at my library this afternoon.

Neil Gaiman.

This is the collection that contains "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" (Only my favorite Gaiman story ever, even more than "A Study in Emerald") and the short story that became The Graveyard Book, plus some other stuff that I don't know about BECAUSE I HAVEN'T READ IT YET.

I'm a Gaiman fan, I'm a fantasy fan, I'm a YA lit fan. I was vaguely aware that this collection existed (it came out in June 2007), but I only realized that the library had it about a month ago, at which point I promptly requested a copy. I HAVE THIS BOOK ON RESERVE. And it was on the weeded-out truck at my local library, going for free starting tomorrow (currently twenty-five cents).

This is not an abused copy. It is a clean, gorgeous hardcover that the library has maybe had for at most three years.

There were a bunch of other teen books there, too, most of them hardcover, nothing I would consider quite as much of a gem as this one (the third book about a Chosen Girl trying to live an Ordinary Life, etc, etc), but stuff that kids would read, if it were on the shelf. Most of them new-looking. Probably most of them published in the past five years.

My librarian left for lunch as I was standing there puzzling over this phenomenon, and told me quietly, "She's raping the teen collection. I don't think she's even looking them up to see if they circulate, just throwing them out." And there was definitely more fantasy than, say, Problem Novels.


And, silly me, I had been wondering why we no longer seemed to have a copy of A Coalition of Lions when I know for a fact that my local branch had a copy when I was in high school.

Why are these books being thrown out? THERE ISN'T ANY MONEY TO REPLACE THEM.

3rdragon: (Default)
And this problem is that my library hours have gotten too popular.

My library hours are Order of the Phoenix - writing club. I've always intended them to be a quiet space for people to do writing or academic work. For the past two weeks there have been lots of people and lots of noise and I've gotten very little work done. I don't work particularly well when there's lots of stuff going on, and I don't think that most of the other people present are getting much work done, either.

I don't want to be a tyrant and enforce silence in my library hours, or say that everyone has to be writing, but the fact is that my library hours have gotten so exuberant that they don't really accomplish their original purpose any more. I don't have so many hours in my week that I can spend two of them feeling frustrated because I didn't accomplish the things that I wanted to get done.

Probably the long-term solution is to not have evening library hours, but this is literally the only time I reliably have free this semester, so I can't exactly change them.

3rdragon: (Default)
I do still exist, yes. But posting to lj is more procrastination than I generally feel that I can justify on work time (yes, I know that I did it all the time at Smith, but I was usually being paid to sit there, not to do actual work unless it happened to come up). However, the video is rendering right now (probably a fruitless effort, but since no-one bothered to leave a note as to the status, it's what I've got . . . oh, the joys of video-editing by committee).

I do have a question for y'all: if you were taking a class titled The Digital Native (a digital native is either anyone born after 1982 or anyone who grew up surrounded by computers/technology/etc and is comfortable with it), a class which so far is basically Teh Internets and Technology: The Course, what would you expect to learn?/What do you think would be covered?/What's the most awesome piece of awesome that you've seen lately that should totally be in the course?

Speaking of awesome, this morning I got to play with a Dell Latitude XT2, which is a netbook/tablet pc. It was pretty neat (mind you, for that much money, I could definitely wait a few versions until they iron out the kinks). And last week my supervisor handed me a video camera smaller than many digital cameras. The shiny technology in this job is shiny (don't worry, my heart still belongs to the Smith computer labs; there would need to be a Whole Lot More Shiny before I would parcel any of my loyalties over to a Windows school).

When I started this post, I was going to talk about the dream I had last night.Read more... )

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