The BookOps book sorter is a magnificent, hypnotic beast.
The BookOps book sorter is a magnificent, hypnotic beast.
In my bookstore there was a couple looking for a four hundred dollar Michael Gira book that I, “darling” she called me, must check out. The man, who had dead flowers in his pocket, said that we (meaning the bookstore) don’t have books like that. But still, the woman wanted it. “I want it,” she said. It’s important for her education, she said. She really wanted it, to be educated by the four hundred dollar book, and the man said no, you can’t have it, they don’t have it, they don’t have books like that, and besides I don’t have the four hundred dollars for it, even if it is by the dude in Swans. He said she shouldn’t have lost her first copy of the four hundred dollar Michael Gira of the band Swans book in Africa. She shouldn’t have left it there, he said. Then she said no it was vital for her education and that he can’t deprive her of her education this way. And he said, I need money for food. She couldn’t believe he was acting this way. And she said, we all need money for food. She told me the Michael Gira book is called The Consumer, and I told her that no we don’t have it. The man asked me for Henderson the Rain King, the novel by Saul Bellow. I told him that we were sold out, and he said that that was just a way of saying that we don’t have it. I agreed that the sentiment was the same. She told him not to be an asshole. She said they’d settle for Candide. But then, of course, the man only had a hundred dollar bill, but we don’t accept those, I told him, and I thought the world was going to end for all of us. She yelled at the man and was appalled that he would embarrass her like that, a reaction I still don’t really understand. They made their way to the door. But before they could leave the woman said I must get the Gira book for myself, that I must educate myself, that that’s most important and, what’s more, Swans is playing Warsaw, a nearby venue, in early December and that I just must go, as the German noise band Guaiveskvneejks Stefsmvlei (not actually their name) would be supporting him. I told her not for four hundred dollars and maybe. She said they’d be back for the Candide. I told her we’d hold it for the night. The man left some dead flowers on the ground: proof, so I vacuumed it up.
The part libraries play in education is the part bubbles play in champagne. They may seem at first to be merely a shimmery addition, but they are the central feature of the entire enterprise and the reason, joyous and astonishing, to keep imbibing.
Here’s what happens to your desk when you order half a bushel of apples without first researching how many apples that is
Loved this book, even though it took me on a RIDE, the sort that usually ends with a call to a mental health professional.
Nothing says: “Read Up, Groovy Babes!” quite like a bright pink pamphlet featuring Anton Chekhov on the cover.
We found this in an old folder entitled “Ideas from Other Libraries”. It’s from the Fiction Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. There’s no clear date, but there are some markings inside that lead me to believe that this is from the early 70s.
Other fiction authors featured inside are categorized by nationality, though any author who isn’t American or English/Irish falls under the “Other Foreign Writer” category.
When my boss was describing it to me, she said “come look at this crazy library pamphlet from the 60s with Chekhov on the cover" and I dropped everything and ran over because I thought she was talking about Chekhov from The Original Star Trek. Part of me wonders if this was part of the original Fiction Department marketing tactic too. Tricksy FLP staff.
Books For Fans of Drunk History
I’ve started watching Drunk History and realized that many of the stories they feature, told pretty well therein, are told spectacularly well in a book. So this isn’t a bibliography of Drunk History, though that would be an interesting project. Instead, these are five books that not only relate to an episode of Drunk History, but are also really fantastic. Many historical books have a great story buried in them somewhere but aren’t that much fun to read—these are not those.
If you liked Paget Brewster on Allan Pinkerton and Lincoln’s inauguration travels (season 2, episode 4), you would like The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower. Equally good for true crime buffs as well as historical ones.
If you liked Mark Gagliardi on Stetson Kennedy and the KKK (season 1, episode 3), you would like There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975 by Jason Sokol. Deeply infuriating and inspiring by turns.
If you liked Amber Ruffin on Claudette Colvin (season 2, episode 1), you would like Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Though this won or was nominated for half the children’s book awards in the country, it’s detailed enough to work for adult readers as well.
If you liked Eric Falconer on the Statue of Liberty (season 2, episode 2), you would like Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build The Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mitchell. As with most of the Drunk History stories, the full backstory on this is even more ridiculous than you can imagine.
If you liked Patrick Walsh on the presidential election of 1800 (season 2, episode 8), you would like A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson. This book is also great to cite around election time, when people start bitching about how there’s no civility in politics anymore, where did decent human kindness go, blah blah blah. (Since, as you’ve probably gathered, that is complete nonsense, elections have always been horrible.)
Bonus round: two stories that really ought to be on Drunk History and would likely appeal to fans of the show:
K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist by Peter Carlson. (This could be an entire episode unto itself, with each of Khrushchev’s three US visits being a different segment. They are all that nutty.)
The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo. (If that subtitle doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure I can say anything else that will.)
I’m reading Jincy Willett’s AMY FALLS DOWN, and this whole scene, in which several writers discuss their “process” on NPR, is a little too realistic.
This entire book — and its predecessor The Writing Class — are hilarious, sometimes poignant, wonders. I give them as gifts all the time. Jincy Willett is my favorite cranky writer.
Me too. I love Jincy. Winner of the National Book Award is an all-time favorite and is a must-read-someday for librarians.