MEET ME IN THE STACKS. CHATTING ENCOURAGED.

Ever notice how some folks wrinkle their noses in perceptible scorn when the talk turns to libraries?  They’re convinced that the spirit of the printed page is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.

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Everyone loves to paratweet The Bard.

 

Will you and I seek wisdom only in the cloud? Will libraries come to an end, like fins on cars and tubes in TVs?  Will we remember the fabled church-like hush and what exactly those shelves were for?

 

 

I see libraries as powerful agents of community change. I don’t worry about them anymore.

 

 

I’m confident that we will still have buildings filled with print. And large public tables. And couches.

Libraries are vibrant hubs of comfortable, collaborative spaces. And full of services that aren’t limited to the virtual and physical walls of the building.

 

We are part of a society that consumes and spreads knowledge while socializing. And our libraries reflect this.  Libraries today are about what they do for us.  They are idea stores, not book warehouses.

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapons in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!

~Doctor Who, “Tooth and Claw,” Season 2

 

Libraries aren’t just places for quiet study but creative and engaging community centers where people meet. There’s plenty of chatter in the stacks.  And it’s encouraged.  Oh, the bookmarks? They’re still free.

 

The slap-honest truth about libraries is that we need them. For study. For solitude. For human connection. For answering Big Questions.  And little ones.

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The power of my library, and yours, is the conversation it inspires ~ between books and readers, children and parents, us and the collective world. Seems to me that libraries have less to do with clouds than connecting. My library and its staff is thriving, energized, enthusiastic, and ever so valued.  And they make us, patrons and volunteers, feel the same way.

 

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Library attendance and use is cloud-piercing. How-to manuals and health magazines, audio books and antique guides, Bibles and biographies ~ my librarians stamp out so many books in a week, their hands blister. (OK, so my nostalgia is showing. That’s one for #TBT. I miss that stamp, don’t you?)

 

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Index cards? Not so much. Not even here, in this lion-guarded haven.

 

 

 

Libraries feed our passion for information and self-improvement.enhanced-buzz-wide-19609-1388669893-18

 

So be aware of what’s happening to them, just when we need them most. They’re easy targets for local budget cuts, duck soup compared to potholes, pipes, and high school marching bands.  I’m thinking that it’s because what libraries give us is so intangible. How do you measure the worth of what someone gets from a book?

 

 

So, next time you’re at the library, borrow a book of recipes. Whip up something to share~ bagels or biscuits, brioche or baguettes, a pie or a pancake.

Blow off the cloud

and make a connection.

Toni 4/21/18

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: PEDESTRIAN

Scholars date the word ‘pedestrian‘ to the early 18th century, its origin from the French pédestre or Latin pedester (going on foot). But it was also used to mean ‘written in prose’.

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded a few days ago.  You might remember last year’s winner, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.  A controversial pick, his quirky long-delayed response annoyed academy members.  (It was rumored that he used SparkNotes to write his lecture. Really?)

 

Every year I hope the academy chooses perennial contender Haruki Murakami.  (Alas, this year, one of Murakami’s favorite writers, Kazuo Ishiguro, took home the prize.)  Murakami was born in the same month and year as I was but that’s where the similarities end, even though he thinks of himself as an ordinary guy.

 I see myself as a kind of ordinary guy. I don’t think of myself as an artist, mostly. I guess I’m just engineering something. I like to write. I like to choose the right word, I like to write the right sentence. It’s just like gardening or something. You put the seed into the soil at the right time, in the right place.

 

His prose is intricately fashioned, whether fiction, non-fiction, or a personal essay.   What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a collection of gems.  It’s by turns memoir and diary, a laceratingly beautiful (and educational) narrative. Murakami writes the stories we all need to get through life, confront the past, understand the present, and move on to the future.

 

Unresolved mysteries, tales-within-tales, maybe-dreams, everyday worlds, and supernatural realms ~ in Murakami’s hands, his stories fascinate and confound.  An accomplished writer and translator, he knows how to tell a tale circuitously.  He is the kind of professor I yearned for in college, learned and challenging in equal measure.

Haruki Murakami poses questions and tenders ideas you will think about, and then think again. Exactly what Alfred Nobel had in mind.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  And you may not even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.  That’s what this storm is all about.”

Stresa, Italy

Toni 10/8/17

 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I almost wrote 4/3/17 when I signed off this post.  What a scatterbrain.

Maybe that’s why this never happens to me.

April kind of went by in a blur.  But, oh! May! The flowers and birds are happy-go-larky.

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Nature always inspires me.  So does Wendell Berry~ poet, farmer, environmentalist.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Wild things and totes work for me. Hey, I ain’t no drag, I got a brand new bag.

 

How did I ever manage without it? It’s gentle on my shoulders ~ a-a-h ~ and the best part?  I know where everything is. And I mean everything.

 

Do you have a pen pal? Here’s mine. What a sweetie!!!

 

We’ll be together soon. Until then, I’m on turtle watch.

 

So, what are you (screen) watching? I’m finishing up Offspring, the Australian series. And The Great British Baking Show~ you know, the Downton Abbey of cakes and torts. Did you watch it?  It made me crave cheesecake tiers and lady fingers and sponges and macarons and frangipanes….well, you get the idea. I really love that tent and everyone under it.

 

I just finished (virtually) traveling to every US state with Stephen Fry, in a traditional British black cab. He gets right under the skin of American life~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give it a try. On Netflix, one of many intensely good documentaries.

Oh, this. Skip the movie, A Man Called Ove. Read the book. Precious.

 

Speaking of books, I checked out (and renewed) way too many books at the library this month.  Plus all my requests on OverDrive seem to come in all at once.
If you’re anything like me (and I suspect you are), you have a TBR list. Mine is out of control.

 

There’s time enough, but none to spare.

~Charles W. Chesnutt

How will I read them all?  Will I?  And then I read this. 

HOW MANY BOOKS WILL YOU READ BEFORE YOU DIE? SPOILER: IT DEPENDS ON HOW OLD YOU ARE RIGHT NOW

 

What are you reading now?  I’m between a thriller and a hard place.

I’m super excited about the new Richard Russo book that comes out this month. Trajectory, his new collection of short fiction.

 

Summer’s here! I’ve got my seed catalog dog-eared. My head is in the clouds dirt.  I can’t wait to see the garden grow….

…to the strains of Nestor Torres. I saw him perform, what a talent.
He’s on my Pandora, non-stop.

OMG, I finished listening to S-Town!!!! SO good. Did you? Can we talk?
Tell me, what’s up with you? It’s May….got plans?

 Toni 5/3/17