Book Reviews

Library - an Unquiet History tells part of the Berman Story

Steve Fesenmaier writes "LIBRARY – An Unquiet History part about Sandy Berman
BY Matthew Battles

Lost in the stacks

And not everyone is happy with them. In seeking a lofty common denominator, useful for libraries of all shapes, sizes, and specialties, the Library of Congress subject classes often strike a tone of bureaucratic high-handedness. Sanford Berman, a librarian in Minnesota’s Hennepin County Library since 1973, has waged a battle against subject headings he considers racist, reactionary, insulting to human dignity, and plain confusing. In the process, he and a merry band of fellow catalogers turned the HCL catalog into an exemplary tool for readers.


The Cover Critic

There's a new feature in this month's issue of the online journal Mastication: book reviews that focus primarily on what really matters — the cover. Reviewed jackets include Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton ("a little too reserved") and
Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism by Ann Coulter ("nothing short of perfect"). Cover design was mentioned earlier.


Summer Reading

I spent a good part of this afternoon wandering through the jungle that my garden has become since spring’s bloom gave way to the summer heat. Southern California may seem like a gardener’s paradise, but the flip side is that there is very little downtime. The good news is, things grow all year. This is also the bad news, especially since some of those things are weeds. With no winter to kill them off, the perennial varieties go to town on whatever schedule suits them, and the annuals come up as they please.


Evergreen Review, V.1, No. 2

I admit with no reluctance to a certain weakness for old books. An old book contains two stories: its contents and whatever tales its users have attached to it over the years. Sometimes I like a book because of the way it has worn: like an old shoe or a favorite hat, books break in and become comfortable; their spines relax and their pages lie flat without effort; they smell of someone’s home—they carry the memory of the owner’s hair, his cigar, her perfume, the particular dust of the place, the residue of curtains or carpets or hardwood shelves or sometimes the faint aroma of a musty attic trunk. I look for books like that, sniff and feel for them like a hog searches for a hidden acorn, and for the same reason.


Revolting Librarians Redux A review by Steve Fesenmaier

Steve Fesenmaier writes \"A great book came out recently – one I have to put up there with Michael
Moore’s STUPID WHITE MEN – I have to tell you about. It’s called
“Revolting Librarians Redux” edited by Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West.
It is called “redux” because 30 years ago “Revolting Librarians” was
published. That tome was one of the reasons why I stayed in my
lowest-paid, demeaning profession since 1978. I discovered that there
were many other victims of American anti-intellectualism, and they
somehow found their way to library school, and somehow fought back
against The Matrix of the 1970s.


The story behind 'the greatest' English Bible

Toots writes "Interesting Book Review, by Leo Sandon, Distinguished Teaching Professor of religion and American studies at Florida State:

If you want a serious volume among your summer reading selections, I suggest Adam Nicholson's well-received "God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible" (Harper Collins, 2003). It is informative yet engaging; erudite yet accessible; well-researched yet not scholarly thick. One gathers Nicholson intentionally omitted footnotes or endnotes in the interest of readability (a mistake, I think), but he provides 25 felicitous illustrations, six helpful appendices and a rather extensive bibliography. It is a fine telling of the creation of the King James Bible.



Revolting Librarians Needed, More Now than Ever

Steve Fesenmaier writes "
Reviewer: steve fesenmaier from charleston, wv USA
I am one of thousands of librarians who read the original book that was
published in 1972 - I read it in 1978 when I first came
to work in a library. I had a difficult time getting through library
school, and Don Roberts, one of the original authors, kept me
going. After I began my first job ever in a library, I instantly had
doubts about continuing given the conformism, lack of pay,
etc. - until I found a copy of Revolting Librarians and discovered that
many other librarians and library staff had exactly the
same feelings I did. Now, 30 years latter, a second version has come
out. I think that it is vastly superior to the first for several


Book Review: Casino Royale

Bob Cox spotted This Book Review of Casino Royale, the birthplace of Bond, written 50 years ago.
They say he does introduce himself as "Bond - James, Bond"; the car is not an Aston Martin or a BMW - it's a Bentley; and the drink is not a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) - it is: three measures of Gordon's Gin, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet (vermouth).


Doing It by Melvin Burgess

Jenna writes "Have you heard about Melvin Burgess's new novel, "Doing It?" It's not even due out until May, but it's already controversial. Anne Fine wrote a review about it
And here is Burgess's rebuttal (which contains a link to other reviewers and readers comments)."


Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

Bob Cox writes sent along This Review of the new "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web".
They say it has useful ideas and valuable insights. The chapter on Labels is particularly novel, innovative, and useful. All designers of large Web sites need to be familiar with the indexing and cataloging skills that Rosenfeld and Morville explain. Lessons from library science are worth learning, and the author's preference for the magisterial title "Information Architect" over the more familiar but still honorable title of "Librarian" should not blind us to the lessons we can learn from the traditions of the library.



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