Library of Congress, The President is Missing and Robert Benchley

“The Library of Congress is the greatest library in the world. If you ever get down about American culture, [remember that] there are more public libraries in this country than there are Starbucks.” David McCullough

Here’s a fun anthology if you like fantasy: Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries and Lore. Available at the inimitable Longmont Library, this book includes such authors as Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and other Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy award winners. Be thankful our library is nothing like the ones depicted herein.

“My resolution was to read more so I put the subtitles on my TV.” Unknown

You’ve noticed that James Patterson likes to co-author novels with other suspense writers. In June, Knopf/Doubleday will publish The President is Missing, and Patterson’s co-author is none other than Bill Clinton. Also, as if he weren’t busy enough, Patterson wants to teach you how to write a mystery. For $90, you can take an online class involving videos, reading material, exercises, and critiques. If you visit I’m pretty sure no salesman will call.

“[Creative writing] really isn’t like any other kind of work, for it must come from a great emotional upheaval of the soul of the writer himself; and if that emotional upheaval is not present, it must come from the works of any other writers which happen to be handy and easily imitated.” So said humorist Robert Benchley. For a good time, search for him in the library catalog. He also claimed he needed to actually live the lives of his characters, which took considerable time in Cannes, Nice, gambling, drinking. “It was not until I decided to tell stories about old men who just sit in their rooms and shell walnuts that I ever got around to doing any work.”

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” Henry Ward Beecher.

“How about the public library?” CC

*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at
*Originally published in March 2018

Ford Motor Company, Card Catalogs and Jack Reacher

In 1955, the Ford Motor Company asked Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Marianne Moore to suggest a name for a new car they were developing. They wanted to convey a “feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design.” Ms. Moore did compose a long list of possibles, including The Anticipator, The Utopian Turtletop, The Pastelogram, and The Mongoose Civique. From other sources, Ford received more than 6000 suggestions. Do you know the name they settled on? The answer is below.

Isn’t it great to browse the Longmont Library’s extensive computer inventory of books, videos, CDs and more, even from your home? But do you ever miss sorting through the old-fangled card catalog? The Library of Congress has published a lovely tribute, The Card Catalog. During the French Revolution, librarians used blank-backed playing cards to write books’ details, leading to the modern index cards we used and loved. “On December 21, 1980, the last new cards were filed in the [Library of Congress’s] Main Reading Room’s card catalog…no additional cards were ever added.” Far-sighted librarians lobbied to keep these “unique historical document[s]” out of the trash. You can see some of them in this book, by reserving it by computer!

Reacher Said Nothing. If those three words mean something to you, you are the reader this book is for. The rest of the title is Lee Child and the Making of Make Me. The author, Andy Martin, spent much of one year with Child as he wrote his twentieth Jack Reacher thriller. You fans will enjoy such revelations as where the names “Reacher” and “Child” came from. You’ll be surprised at how Child comes up with his bestsellers.

“If you were a member of Jesse James’s band and people asked you what you were, you wouldn’t say, “Well, I’m a desperado.” You’d say something like, ‘I work in banks,’ or ‘I’ve done some railroad work.’ It took me a long time just to say, ‘I’m a writer.’ It’s really embarrassing.” Roy Blount, Jr.

The name Ford chose because it had “an air of gaiety and zest” was Edsel.

*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at
*Originally published in November 2017