Treasure in Your Attic?

“I had an old typewriter and a big idea.”  J.K. Rowling

When Norm and I operated Daily Office Supply on Main Street (1978 to 2002), customers would frequently gift us with manual typewriters, some of which still worked.  We would express thanks and carry them to the basement to gather dust. A few years ago, novelist Cormac McCarthy’s manual Olivetti was purchased at a Christie’s auction for $245,500. I’m guessing (hoping) we didn’t leave anything that valuable moldering at Daily. But lately, people are developing a nostalgia for the sound, sight, smell, and touch of a good, old Smith Corona, Remington Rand, or Olympia.  “The steady resurgence of typewriter love among writers,” an article in The Authors Guild Bulletin observes, “may be a reaction to how tech-mad the world has become.  Like yoga, meditation or contemplative chewing, typewriters slow you down and help you focus.”  When you’re using a computer, it’s all too easy to jump from a writing project to an Internet browser. And consider the security and privacy of a typewriter compared to a computer. If you are interested in regressing to years B.C. (Before Computers), check out The Typewriter Revolution: a Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century by Richard Polt (681.62POL).

“All fiction is largely autobiographical and much of autobiography is, of course, fiction.”  P.D. James

If you’re a Gorey fan, you should take a look at Mark Dery’s new biography of him, Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey (700.92GoreyDER). Being such a private man, Gorey would have hated this thorough and thoroughly entertaining tome. It follows him from babyhood to his death, with footnotes and an impressive bibliography. You’ll no doubt need to renew the book at least once to take it all in. I was afraid to skip, afraid I’d miss something. If you aren’t familiar with Gorey’s wonderful art and weird words, search for Amphigorey in the library catalog. Maybe don’t, if you’re averse to subjects macabre. 

“Books. Cats. Life is Good.”  Edward Gorey

Thanks for reading!  Be safe and well in 2019.

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

Technology and Such

Do your remember the first time you visited the Internet? For me, it was an adult education class on how to use this wonderful new invention. It was cumbersome then, a lot of key strokes and wait periods to accomplish anything. But by the end of the class, we were all already addicted. One of the pioneers of the Web was Steve Case, who co-founded AOL in 1985, when only three percent of Americans were online. His new book, The Third Wave, is a roadmap for succeeding in a world of rapidly changing technology. The book’s available at our Longmont Library, natch’, so feel free to take advantage of its availability if you’re eager to launch your entrepreneurship.
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Diane Setterfield’s novel, The Thirteenth Tale, is well-stocked by the Longmont Library in three forms: book, large-print, and CD. It contains an evocative description of love of reading. “I never read without making sure I am in a secure position. I have been like this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles. Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummeted to the ground and knocked myself out. I can still feel the scar under my fringe now. Reading can be dangerous.”
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As you would expect in our mechanized society, high-traffic library systems use machines to sort books. In New York, for example, a computerized crane can wrangle 120 pounds of books at a time. In a friendly competition with Washington State’s King County recently, NYPL sorted 12,371 books in one hour, and winner KCPL sorted 12,572.
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Dashiell Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency before writing novels. In his memoirs he recalled, “A man whom I was shadowing went out into the country for a walk one Sunday afternoon and lost his bearings completely. I had to direct him back to the city.”
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The May 16th New Yorker contains an article that begins, “At Trail Ridge Middle School, which is forty minutes north of Denver, in Longmont, the old Colorado is giving way to the new.” It’s a story about Sphero robots being used in classrooms to teach kids coding. An Erie teacher is also quoted.
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Don’t lose your way or fall off any walls.
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*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at carolcail.com
*Originally published in Summer 2016