Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes - Catch All Edition

Seven Quick Takes hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary

1. Seraphic not only finished "Eilidh and the Empty Fame," but she's now posting segments of "Eilidh and the Christmas Spirit." If you were pitching this as a movie it would be "Bertie and Jeeves, only female and in Scotland -- and um, Catholic." Though it seems to me that some of Lady Bramble's relatives could have wandered in from an Evelyn Waugh novel. Both stories are posted here (in reverse order since it's a blog). I really like Catholic fiction that's not what people expect when they see that label.

2. Yesterday, while shelving books in the library, I noticed an unintentionally amusing title: The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Compte-Sponville. We aides aren't supposed to pause to read jacket blurbs, so I'm not sure how the author reconciles spirituality with a belief in the existence of nothing beyond the material world. Perhaps, like many people, he equates spirituality with simply being nice. (Reviews on Amazon are mixed.)

3. I had a really weird dream last night, possibly triggered by my visit to the Road to California quilt show on Sunday. Though the details have faded, I distinctly remember that I was in search of dish towels with embroidered redwork designs showing Cthulhu engaged in different chores for each day of the week. You know, wash on Monday; iron on Tuesday; sew on Wednesday; etc. When I was a girl, you could buy Aunt Martha's iron-on embroidery transfers for this sort of thing at Woolworth's. But they featured cute little girls, kittens, or duckies. Not Cthulhu. And the really odd thing is that I don't think I've ever read any Lovecraft.

4. Having recently noticed that Neil Gaiman won the Newbery in 2009 for The Graveyard Book, I decided to give it a go. Ho, hum! An interesting premise -- human baby raised by the ghosts in the local graveyard -- but rather disjointed in execution. Perhaps that is not surprising since the author says that it took him twenty-some years to write the book and that it initially started with what is now chapter four. The Graveyard Book doesn't really begin to act like a novel until near the end.

5. For more timely Newbery excitement, click over to Everyone's a Winner as Peter Sieruta of Collecting Children's Books uses Twitter and a cell phone to help a book seller friend place her orders for the new award winners as they are being announced so that she'll have have copies in stock for the Award Day rush.
I was very glad to help her out. In these uncertain times, independent bookstores -- the kind where they know your name and make personal recommendations -- are having a terrible time competing with the big chains and dealers. When Awards Day rolls around, everyone --from local libraries to first edition collectors -- calls or drops by my friend's store, trying to find the winning titles. So it was very important that she have these books in stock; her business depended on it.
I also enjoyed reading his reflections on the books that won and those that didn't.

6. Who knew that there was a blog devoted to the Dewey Decimal system? Appropriately, it is called 025.431: The Dewey Blog. Tuesday's entry concerns dark matter and the Milky Way.

The comprehensive (and interdisciplinary) number for dark matter is 523.1126 Dark matter; an example of a work classed there is In Search of Dark Matter.

The comprehensive (and interdisciplinary) number for the Milky Way is 523.113 Milky Way; an example of a work classed there is The Milky Way.

Where should a work about dark matter as part of the Milky Way be classed?

If this is the geeky sort of thing that makes your heart go pitter-pat (and I have to admit that mine does), click here to find the answer and the reasoning behind it. Someday I'll have to write about the fun I had cataloging the library at my previous parish.

7. Have you been to see my other blog, Quilting Bibliophagist? (When I'm not reading, I quilt.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't Go Out Without One

". . . Laurie led the way from room to room, letting Jo stop to examine whatever struck her fancy; and so at last they came to the library, where she clapped her hands, and pranced, as she always did when especially delighted. It was lined with books, and there were pictures and statues, and distracting little cabinets full of coins and curiosities, and sleepy-hollow chairs, and queer tables, and bronzes;l and best of all, a great open fire-place, with quaint tiles all round it.

"What richness!" sighed Jo, sinking into the depth of a velvet chair, and gazing about her with an air of intense satisfaction. "Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the happiest boy in the world," she added impressively.

"A fellow can't live on books," said Laurie, shaking his head . . ."

--Little Women by L.M. Alcott

Oh, I don't know. A fellow might try.

I remember, when I was in high school, standing in line to enter the gym for one of those mandatory pep rallies which regularly interrupted our alleged education. As usual, I'd brought a book to help me endure the tedium. (I am so not into sports!) Upon seeing me, a girl whom I knew slightly gave a snort of exasperation and said, "You know, there is more to life than books." Without raising my eyes from the page, I replied, "Yes, but there's more to life with a book than without." I'm still pretty much of that opinion. Cosmically speaking, books may not be the most important things in life. But they certainly help you get through the bad bits.