Book Reviews

Largest book reviewed in detail

nbruce writes "Finding a copy and then reviewing it, was no small task for Laurence Wieder of Books and Culture, who reviewed Bhutan:

“My appointment to look at Bhutan also gave the [LC] Prints and Photography Division staff their first opportunity to go through the book. They pushed several library tables together against an outside wall of the reading room to make a raised platform for turning the pages. The book was cradled by foam bolsters to ease pressure on the spine when it lay open. A step-stool helped elevate me above the viewing surface, although probably not far enough to attain the right aesthetic distance from the page. The custom easel hadn't been unpacked yet. The blinds were drawn to cut down glare. I borrowed a loupe, to inspect the prints' dot structure.�"

Summer reading recommendations from Nancy Pearl

Librarian, author and action figure model Nancy Pearl offers a summer reading list to her hometown Seattle Post Intelligencer. I've heard of three of the titles she mentions, but I haven't read any of them.

Dershowitz's Book Gets a Second Book Review in PW

Unhappy with the original negative review of his lengthily-titled book "America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles that Transformed Our Nation -- From the Salem Witches to the Guantanamo Detainees", author/professor/lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz expressed his dissatisfaction loudly to Publishers Weekly Editor-in-Chief Nora Rawlinson.

Her response concurred that the original review "did not comply with our reviewing standards," more or less admitting that the review was a reflection of the {unspecified} reviewer's personal feelings about the author rather than a critique of the book. Here's the story from Boston.com.

Books and the single girl

An Anonymous Patron sends "this piece fromNewsday.com about the publishing phenomenon of Chick Lit.

"'The last time single women were celebrated in fiction, they were called New Women, says Elaine Showalter, the recently retired chairwoman of Princeton's English department. That was when the 19th century became the 20th.

Now the 20th has turned into the 21st century, and a genre concentrating on the lives, loves, adventures and misadventures of unwed females is once again booming. This time around, it's called Chick Lit.'"

Liberty, Technology, Duty: Where Peace Overlaps War

Info Whale writes "Here is one of the best pieces I have read recently on the link between freedom and libraries. Rothstein discusses several new books on the subject including "Free Culture: How Bad Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity" Penguin, $24.95),
"The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System" (Basic Books, $26) by Siva Vaidhyanathan and "The Success of Open Source" (Harvard, $29.95)by Steven Weber."

Everyone knew her as Nancy

Book Lust author, former Tulsan, action figure model, and increasingly visible library poster person Nancy Pearl was featured on NPR's Morning Edition today, giving book recommendations to Steve Inskeep. The topic, briefly, was "political books for people who are sick of hearing about politics". She spoke about several political novels, including Henry Adams' Democracy from 1876, and the classic All the King's Men.

A Book About the Other New Yorkers

Robert Sullivan's new book may make some readers a bit queasy, but NYT book reviewer Michiko Kakutani calls it ""Engaging ... a lively, informative compendium of facts, theories and musings."

The subject is...rats.

This article relates how the author studied the habits of rodents each evening over the period of a year in New York's Chinatown aided by a pair of infra-red goggles. He found that social connections within the rat community are amazingly similar to the city's predominant species. Happily, he tells us that the long-believed formula that there is one rat per New Yorker is, as of the moment, fictitious.

Library lectures become book series

nbruce writes "The opening paragraph of a detailed review of a series of seven books that started out as a lecture series in a library states:

“Recently, prominent writers from a wide variety of fields took the stage at the New York Public Library to expound upon the Seven Deadly Sins. Four of the lectures have now been published in book form, with three additional volumes forthcoming. An editor's note explains that these books are intended "to chart the ways we have approached and understood evil, one deadly sin at a time." The problem, however, is that the series lifts seven names from an old and closely detailed map in order to draw a new and rather vague one, occasionally replacing what once was a warning with a blessing.�

And so, lust, envy and gluttony are all reworked and misapplied and even become virtues at the hands of these authors. Even greed, although closer to the traditional teachings on the subject, is weak, according to reviewer Abram Van Engen. Read the Books & Culture review here."

Bring patrons to the library : Running a successful card campaign

In the preface of this How-To-Do-It Manual, Patrick Jones indicates that one of the biggest mistakes librarians can make is taking for granted that everyone wants to have a library card. Statistics tell us otherwise. Adult usage is on the decline and many of us are in the position of having large numbers of our service population who are not card-carrying library users.

That's the situation this book is designed to address. It focuses on how to "sell the sizzle" when it comes to your library card, i.e., how to market the services accessed via the card in the most compelling way possible. To do this, it looks in-depth at the methods and results of a number of library card campaigns conducted by large, urban libraries (Houston, Philadelphia, etc.) and summarizes those of mid-sized and smaller libraries. Read a more indepth review of the book.

When Washington was in vogue

nbruce writes: "Yesterday's Wall Street Journal (January 23, 2004) reviews the novel When Washington was in vogue (Amistad), a love story that includes conflicts between bourgeois blacks and traditional working class blacks of the 1920s. It was originally serialized anonymously in The Messenger and has been issued as a book for the first time. The author, Edward Christopher Williams (1871-1929) was a librarian, playwright and teacher. According to the website about black culture in Washington DC.:"Soon after graduation [from Case Western], Williams accepted the Assistant Librarian position at his alma mater, where he initially prepared the plan of organization of the Library School and taught courses in collection development. In 1898, he not only earned a promotion to Library Director at Case Western Reserve University, but also took sabbatical in order to attend the New York State Library School in Albany.After completing the two-year Masters Degree program in one year, Williams returned to the University and continued to serve admirably. When Case Western Reserve established the Library School in 1904, Williams taught courses in Reference Work, Bibliography, Public Documents, and Book Selection.In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was a founding member of the Ohio Library Association (OLA) and lectured at the Ohio Institute of Library workers, which held its annual meetings each year at OLA."He gave up his library career in 1909 to go into education and then became a writer, but never lost his interest in libraries, returning to the field in 1920 at Howard University."

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