A Symbiosis of Books and Computers

I came across that drollery one day while browsing the web to put off organizing my file drawers.  Here are some addresses that you, book lover, might find entertaining.
  • grammarphobia.com is where to go to find correct English usage and the origins of words, but it’s also a jumping-off place to interesting blogs and news articles about language.  For instance, there’s a link to get advice on what dictionary to buy, and another link to a New York Times Op Ed piece on President Obama’s English.
  • the-best-childrens-books.org  features school teachers’ recommendations; you can browse by grade level or topic.  The site also posts articles about reading, such as “What to Do When Your Child Hates Reading.”  If you want a best book for adults, try lithub.com —so much is going on there, I can’t begin to describe it.
  • As you might expect, merriam-webster.com provides a dictionary and thesaurus, but it also offers word games and quizzes.  You can sign up to receive a word-a-day by email, i.e., “organoleptic”—having to do with using sense organs.  Plus there’s a learners’ ESL dictionary and a Scrabble® word finder.
  • If you need a laugh, or at least a grin, Google “library humor.”  You’ll find plenty to keep you up past your bedtime.
There are also some fun videos involving libraries on YouTube.  Google the following:
  • Dewey Decimal Rap  (You don’t have to like rap to tap your toes to this.)
  • Librarian Rhapsody  (A bunch of librarians parodying Queen’s super hit.)
  • The Joy of Books  (Real books, hundreds of them, dancing.  You’ll boggle at how the video was made.)
  • Cookie Monster in Library  (Cookie Monster being Cookie Monster.)

Somewhere in my computer travels,  I saw the definition of “library” as “kind of an early version of the world wide web,” and “librarian” as “the original search engine.”
I also came across a Kindle reader’s remark that, “It was a real scroller.  I couldn’t put down my screen.”
Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com

Clubs, Surveys and a Few Quotes

Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are.  [Unknown]
Considering setting up a book club?  You’ll find a world of helpful information at  www.bookbrowse.com.  Thanks to Zoom and other online connections, book clubs have thrived during the pandemic.  In a recent survey with 3,417 responses, BookBrowse found that more than half of the respondents considered their virtual book groups to be even more important than when they could gather in person.  Sixty-five percent reported that their members now meet remotely.  (Seventeen percent are meeting outdoors.)   Attendance for some clubs increased, since people who had moved away or couldn’t travel in bad weather or for other reasons could still sit in online.  And some groups have discovered how convenient it is to invite authors to join them!  BookBrowse also reviews books, in case you need a good one.
So are you looking for a good read?  Last fall, Publisher’s Weekly ran a listing of their Top Ten Best Books 2020.  I’m betting that the Longmont Library’s book buyer read this same issue and ordered all of the top ten, because when I searched for half of the titles, they were each available here.  These included Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson, and The Last Great Road Bum, by Hector Tobar, both nonfiction;  and Sisters, by Daisy Johnson, and A Saint From Texas, by Edmund White, novels.  The magazine’s top ten were followed by several pages describing other notable reads—-fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults, children, and teens.  I also bet that if you nicely ask the reference desk librarian, as soon as the library reopens, you could take a look at the PW issue for October 26th, 2020. 
In another survey, of more than 3,900 adult Americans who bought a book in the month prior to the survey, 92 percent were registered to vote, and 30 percent were more likely to vote than the average American.
Happiness is a book sale.
Happiness is finding a new book by your favorite author.
Read.  It’s music you hear with your eyes.  
Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com

Absolutely Free

There are more than 100,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in 108 countries worldwide.  The idea of sharing books streetside—take one or more, leave one or none—originated in Wisconsin in 2009 and rapidly gained popularity.  Since 2016, another movement modeled after Little Free Libraries has resulted in nearly 1,000 new boxes in yards across the United States, and this time the free items are edible!  These Little Free Pantries are especially timely due to our Coronavirus economy woes.  One of them is just steps from the Longmont Library at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 803 Third Street.  
Our wondrous public library offers lots of no-charge entertainment, which can help you and your family through the boredom of Covid19 requirements.  The library’s web site is where you can find links to virtual field trips, virtual storytimes, videos of library programs and events you may have missed, a Longmont podcast called Side Dish, and even some coloring pages you can print out.  You can also take online classes; for example, Pronunciator teaches foreign languages.  And if you need any more distraction from the troubles of the world, the library has, last time I checked, 21,982 movies to choose from, including some 2020 releases!
Here’s another freebie—good advice from a successful man.  “I spent three days a week for ten years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college.  People should educate themselves—you can get a complete education for no money.  At the end of ten years, I had read every book in the library, and I’d written a thousand stories.”  So says Ray Bradbury.
Lastly, there are free smiles to be found on-line if you Google “library humor.”  For instance:
  It’s not hoarding if it’s books.
. I’d like to give a shout-out to all librarians—oh, I’m sorry.
  Little known fact:  For every weird librarian, there are at least five “unconventional” patrons.  
  Question:  Should you read in the morning, the afternoon, or the middle of the night?   Answer: yes.
Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com

From the Miscellaneous File

Here are some wise words, author(s) unknown.  “Books don’t crash, they don’t get viruses, and they don’t need screen savers.“  “People who say that I’m hard to shop for must not know where to buy books.”  “I want to check out that book that has every trick in it.”  “Book lovers never go to bed alone.”  “A synonym is a word used in place of the one you can’t spell.”

I’ve made fun of James Patterson in the past, so to be fair, I have to share the following news item from an April Publisher’s Weekly:  “James Patterson is pledging to donate $2.5 million in partnership with Scholastic Book Clubs to help teachers build their classroom libraries.  This is the sixth year that Patterson has supported school libraries with grants.”

Corinne B., a friend of mine and a Friend of Longmont Library, recommends  the following:  The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe is the true account of Dita Kraus, who was 14 when she and her parents were imprisoned by the Nazis.  She was entrusted with the eight precious books that had been smuggled past the guards.  Her story is available by book and in audio at our laudable library.  Also in both formats is Ms. Kraus’s autobiography,  A Delayed Life: the True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz.  Either version makes masks and social distancing seem shamefully easy.

Keep your distance.  Read!
*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com

Music Musings

I like classical music, especially the louder bits when fingers, bows, and conductor’s hair are flying.   But my favorite music genre is rock, ever since it was born and borne on the shelf radio in the family kitchen, while I washed dishes, sang along, and thought about boys.  Of late, I’ve noticed that some lyrics of music written and recorded years ago are appropriate for our current situation.  I’ve started a list.
🎵Fleetwood Mac, Behind the Mask: “Don’t you come too close to me; you’re dangerous can’t you see.”
🎵The Eagles, Last Good Time in Town:  “I like to go out every now and then.  I can’t wait to do it again. . . . Lately I’ve been stayin’ at home.  Workin’ the crosswords, turn off the phone. . . .I don’t mind being by myself if there’s no one else around.  It’s the last good time in town.”
🎵Richard Thompson,  All Buttoned Up:  “She’s all buttoned up, all buttoned up, no place to go.  She’s all buttoned up, all buttoned up, no place to go.”
🎵Collective Soul, Run:  “Are these times contagious?  I’ve never been this bored before.”  

If you love a good melody, Longmont Library is a treasure trove of entertainment—-16 pages if you type “dvd musicals” in the “by subject” option.  All genres for all ages and a wide variety  are available: bluegrass, jazz, country, mariachi, flamenco, a Leonard Bernstein Omnibus  (four DVDs!), Bob Marley, Rock ’n Learn for kiddies, Teen Beach, and any Broadway show you can name.  There’s something called Rumble: the Indians Who Rocked the World, and another that delves into the science of why music appeals to us (The Music Instinct).  And if you are a music do-it-yourselfer, search for “songbooks” in the “keyword” option.  Piano, vocal, accordion, guitar, ukulele, trumpet, dulcimer—-aplenty to drive the neighbors crazy.

Two last tips on the subject—
1.  In that wonderful future when the library completely reopens, check The Book Shop for music CDs and DVDs at bargain prices.
2.  During so much alone time, are you embarrassed to find that you’re talking to yourself?  Try singing the words—it just feels better.

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com