"It's all about supporting our library"

Between Friends

Welcome to our monthly column,
written by our beloved Carol Cail. 

Read more of her witty wonderful words
on her website: 

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  • July 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    This tidbit is a quote from Publishers Weekly:  “In an open letter, more than 250 authors, agents, booksellers, and publishers urged publishers not to sign book deals with members of the Trump administration or anyone who supported the storming of the U, S. Capitol on January 6.”

    Publishers Weekly also reported that, “Amazon has been targeted in a class-action lawsuit alleging e-book price fixing.  [It’s] by the same law firm that successfully sued Apple and five major publishers for colluding to fix e-book prices in 2011.”  Meanwhile, The Washington Post points out that, “Amazon is the only major book publisher that refuses to sell downloadable versions of its e-books or audiobooks to libraries. . . .”

    Yet more from Publishers Weekly:  In 2020, the children’s picture book that stayed on the bestseller lists longest—52 weeks—was an old favorite, now as a board book, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Despite impending controversy, a Dr. Seuss picture book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, hung in there for thirty weeks.

    A children’s author who frequently hit the bestselling lists, selling more than 85 million books, was Beverly Cleary, who died in March at age 104.  She was a librarian who saw the need for books about ordinary kids with ordinary kid problems and solutions.   Her stories about fictional heroes—Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby,  Ralph S. Mouse, and others—contained both comedy and serious topics.  She always wrote from the perspective of her own childhood.  “That little girl prevents me from writing down to children. . . from writing an adult reminiscence about childhood instead of a book to be enjoyed by children.”

    And as promised, here are a few good-humored quotes.  

    “It was a book to kill time for those who like it better dead.”  Dame Rose Macaulay

    “The covers of this book are too far apart.”  Ambrose Bierce

    “This paperback is very interesting, but I find it will never replace a hardcover book—it makes a very poor doorstop.”  Alfred Hitchcock

    “A bit of trash now and then is good for the severest reader.  It provides the necessary roughage in the literary diet.:  Phyllis McGinley

  • May 01, 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    As spring flirts with us and the end of the pandemic is in sight — if you use a telescope — here are a few suggestions for your to-read list anticipating the happy day the library reopens.

    “There are worse crimes than burning books.  One of them is not reading them.”  So said poet Joseph Brodsky.  Longmont Library has two of his collections (811BRO).   April was National Poetry Month, established in 1996 in the U.S., and  World Poetry Day was March 21st;  but don’t feel bad if you missed them — they’ll come around again.  What poetry form do you think is the most popular in the whole world?  (Answer is below.)

    The Unquiet Englishman is a biography of the unconventional British novelist Graham Greene.  A  review in The New Yorker recounted the story of Greene’s earliest childhood recollection.  His nanny had him sitting in a pram, on a walk with his sister’s pug, when the dog was run over on the street.  The nanny couldn’t think of a way to take the animal home except to put him into the carriage with baby Graham.  Is it any wonder that Greene turned out eccentric?  Longmont Library has several formats of the biography, and loads of Graham Greene novels.

    If you enjoy fantasy in your reading,  have you discovered the Invisible Library novels by Genevieve Cogman?  Dragons, the Fae, and magic, oh my.  Near the exciting climax of The Dark Archive, heroine Irene thinks, “This wasn’t why I became a Librarian. . . .”  Longmont Library has seven books in the series, and it’s best to start with number one.

    This next book got a starred review in Publishers Weekly.  The title says it all:  Bringing up Bookmonsters:  The Joyful Way to Turn Your Child into a Fearless, Ravenous Reader.  The authors are Amber and Andy Ankowski.  And our sterling Longmont Library has two copies on order.

    (Answer:  the world’s favorite poetry form is haiku, but how that was determined is not clear.)

  • March 01, 2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    "Dinosaurs didn't read. Now they are extinct. Thank goodness the thesaurus survived."

    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.”

  • February 01, 2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    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. 

  • November 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    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.
  • September 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    On the new shelf  (J081) and in the children’s department (SNI) this is a book to amuse all ages.  Even the title is funny—Read Something Else.  The subtitle reveals what to expect—Collected and Dubious Wisdom of Lemony Snicket.  Sample sayings: “In my experience, well-read people are less likely to be evil.”  And “Villainy can win against one library, but not against an organization of readers.”

    If you have dipped into YouTube one too many times and/or watched all the podcasts you can stand, reboot yourself by visiting americanbookreview.org.  There you will find such debatable topics as the 100 best first lines from novels, the 100 best last lines from novels, and the top 40 bad books.

    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!

  • July 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    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.
  • June 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As I’m writing this, the library is still closed to browsers.  But if you want to put a book or more on hold, you’ll be able to collect your choices outside the building.  Click here for the link that explains how. Following are suggestions for your to-read list.

    Ifferisms: an Anthology of Aphorisms that Begin with the Word If (082 GRO) edited by Mardy Grothe is a fun read.  So that you wouldn’t have to look up “aphorism,” I did.  It is a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as,If a book is worth reading, it’s worth buying.”  Another title by  Dr. Grothe is I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like, which includes this gem: “A simile is like a metaphor.”  This book is not in the Longmont Library catalog; you would have to ask for it by way of Prospector, which is probably not currently available.

    Oblivion Banjo (811.54 WRI) is a new poetry collection from Charles Wright, spanning his decades-long career, emphasizing themes of language, landscapes, and the idea of God.  A New Yorker magazine favorable review included an anecdote of Wright’s encounter with Ezra Pound, whom he much admired.  Wright came across Pound in Venice, staring at a church.  “Wright approached him, stood silently by his side, then skulked away.  He didn’t want an autograph or a blessing; he wanted to share his idol’s point of view.”

    Here’s something to do if you’re tired of twiddling your thumbs.  In the library’s online catalog, under title, enter “underground.”  You’ll be amazed at the variety of reading available—nine pages—adult, teen, children, nonfiction, fiction.  If you type “underground” as a subject instead, 15 pages come up.

    We never fully appreciate a good thing until it’s gone.  While we are quarantined—that’s when we need the library the most.  Andrew Carnegie said, “A library outranks any other one  thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It’s a never-failing spring in the desert.”  Thanks to the keepers of our spring, which is slower for now, but still flowing!

  • May 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Let’s begin with the court jester of quotes, Will Rogers——he’s really the king but he wouldn’t like to be called that.  Mind you, this is from about 90 years ago. “I sure hate to admit it, but there is no use trying to bull it through that I have done much book reading, for I haven’t.  But with the senate operating six hours a day, and the house the same, all the investigations, and the robbers getting out of jails, the million and one things going on, and I read it all, I just got started in wrong.  I seemed to have gone from Frank Merriwell and Nick Carter, right to the Congressional Record, just from one set of low fiction to another.” 

    Nobody steals books but your friends.  Roger Zelazny

    Most new books are forgotten within a year, especially by those who borrow them.  Evan Esar

    I couldn’t live a week without a private library—-indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1,500 or so books I possess.  H.P. Lovecraft

    When writers die, they become books, which is after all not too bad an incarnation.  Jorge Luis Borges

    Books to the ceiling,Books to the sky,My pile of books is a mile high.How I love them!  How I need them!I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. Arnold Lobel

    Nothing can do what a book can do.  Lifts you out of your life. . .to a whole new world, whole new perspective.  A book is like a dream you’re borrowing from a friend.  Dave Kellett

    Never judge a book by its movie.  J. W. Eagan

    Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.  Benjamin Franklin

    There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is the best of all.  Jackie Kennedy

    Don’t join the book burners.  Don’t think you’re gong to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed.  Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.  Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • April 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    During this difficult time of closings, lockdowns, and social distancing, love of reading is more important than ever.  What better way to spend time by yourself?  Going online with an e-reader and library card will get you digital books, audiobooks, newspapers, and magazines.  But If you prefer the “real thing” and your physical stack of to-reads is going down fast, I recommend you replenish it with books from betterworldbooks.com or thriftbooks.com , two good sources for used books by mail.

    “Books, I found, had the power to make time stand still, retreat or fly into the future.”  (Jim Bishop)

    “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”  (Jhumpa Lahiri)

    “An author spends months writing a book, and maybe puts his heart’s blood into it, and then it lies about unread till the reader has nothing else in the world to do.”  (W. Somerset Maugham)

    Another way to entertain yourself during confinement is to visit dictionary.com, which offers word games (including crosswords), quizzes, quotes, and words of the day.  You can watch trivia videos, such as word origins or British slang, or learn about history, current events,  grammar, and more. 

    “I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.”  (Steven Wright)

    Not in the mood to read or play games?  How about trying your hand at writing fiction?  Write a story from the viewpoint of a dog, thrilled that his owner has been spending so much time at home.  That’s a story suggestion from yet another web site,  reedsyprompts.com, which is a blog with lots of other ideas if you need one.

    “When you write things down, they sometimes take you places you hadn’t planned.”  (Melanie Benjamin)

    “There’s always something to write about.  If there’s not then you need to live life more aggressively.” (Min Kim)

    “Some people have a way with words, and other people. . . oh, uh, not have way.”   (Steve Martin)

    You can find more inspiration for things to do while the library is closed, at longmontcolorado.gov under “Things to do while the library is closed.”
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