Our Spring in the Desert

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!

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at

Another All Quotations Column

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

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at

Library Deprivation: How to Survive It, Especially If You Have a Computer

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 or , 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, 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,, 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 under “Things to do while the library is closed.”

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at

Lots of Books, Lots of Books, and One Almost-Not-A-Book


Are you ready to be amazed?  The May, 2019 issue of Glamour carried an article about Danielle Steel, in which much was revealed about the bestselling novelist.  She was born in New York, grew up in France, was married twice, has nine children, sold her very first novel at age 19, and has published 179 books [yes, that’s 179, but it might be several more by the time you read this].  The Numbers Game, her latest, is coming out in March.  [There’s a library waiting list for it.]  She uses not a computer but a 1946 Olympia standard typewriter, works 20 to 24 hours a day, usually sleeps less than four hours a night, and often has five or six novels underway simultaneously.  If you’d like to view her custom desk, built to look like a stack of three of her bestselling novels, go to  

“A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.”  Danielle Steel

Here’s a library acquisition for you if you love to read and love music, especially rock and roll——Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie’s Life, by John O’Connell.  In short essays, music journalist O’Connell examines how each book influenced the musician’s life and work.  In 1975, when Bowie was filming The Man Who Fell to Earth, the Sunday Times wrote:  “Bowie hates aircraft so he mostly travels across the states by train, carrying his mobile bibliotheque in special trunks which open out with all his books neatly displayed on shelves.  In New Mexico, the volumes dealt mainly with the occult, his current enthusiasm.”

“Reading is, among much else, an escape——into other people, other perspectives, other consciousnesses.  It takes you out of yourself, only to put you back there infinitely enriched.”  John O’Connell.

There are numerous books we would have been denied the pleasure of reading if the authors had not persisted in spite of harsh rejections.  For instance, Moby Dick.  An editor who disliked the concept of the whale suggested that Captain Ahab struggle instead “with a depravity toward young, perhaps voluptuous, maidens.”  Would Moby Mermaid have been a classic?


*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at

Quotations, Quizzes and Made-up Words

Let’s begin the new year by all-hailing our wondrous public library.  Here are a few quotations for you to recite to your favorite librarian:
❊ At the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.  [Barack Obama, ALA annual conference keynote address]
❊ The free library is a living room to an ordinary citizen, a treasury to a researcher, and a chamber of horrors to a dictator.  [Bengt Holmqvist]
❊ Where else could a member of the public linger for over ten hours without being questioned?   [Barry Bowes]
❊ I must say that I find television very educational.  The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book.  [Groucho Marx]
For more of this kind of thing, check out The Librarian’s Book of Quotes, compiled by Tatyana Eckstrand (020 ECK).

The November 11, 2019 issue of The New Yorker has an interesting article under the title “The Gentleman from Indiana.”  It begins, “Can you name the only three writers who have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice?“  The Library of America recently reissued two such novels in one volume: The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams, by—did you know?—Booth Tarkington.  Nine of his thirty or so novels were bestsellers in their day.  Remember Penrod?  Longmont Library has that, plus the new double-novel publication, and a lot more, including DVDs of the books that were made into movies. You can find The New Yorker in the library’s magazine collection.  Oh, the other two Pulitzer Prize authors?  Faulkner and Updike. 

Here’s another test of your memory.  Sniglets.  Barbara Wallraff, a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly updated the idea of “a word that someone is looking for, which other people helpfully try to find or coin,” i.e. a word that should have been in the dictionary but isn’t;   for example: the runny stuff that comes out of the bottle before the mustard does—“musquirt.”  Wallraff’s book, Word Fugitives, is available from the Boulder Library by way of the Longmont Library.

May your 2020 be happy happy.

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at