Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Library of the Living Dead

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.
~George A. Romero

It's Halloween today.  The monsters will soon coming knocking at the door and begging for candy.  The monsters will be joined by vampires, witches, princesses, and various other characters.  Some are meant to scare and others are meant to delight, but all are meant to consume vast amounts of candy.

It's a time to be someone other than your usual everyday self.  It's time to let your imagination get the best of you.  What wild ideas have children come up with?  What characters have knocked on your door?  Who thinks of some of these things?  This year I couldn't think of anything, so I ended up looking like someone who has just been revived after dying of a candy overdose.

182 Hurricane Sandy 103012

It's time for all the scary stuff: scary movies, scary books, scary stories, scary weather.  The storms out east earlier this week caused a bit of anxiety even to those of us living far beyond the reaches of Sandy.  The worst of the storm is over, but there's still plenty of storm left.  I'm still waiting to hear how some of my favorite places withstood the tempests of Sandy.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

The news is full of reports of how bad it was, and perhaps they're only showing us the worst.  The whole area hasn't been demolished.  Yes, there are millions of dollars worth of clean-up to do, but I would guess that it isn't as bad as many of us imagine it to be.  At least I hope it isn't that bad.  Those active imaginations at work can certainly make things out to be much worse than they really are.  It doesn't look very good; but on the bright side, it could be worse.

sand castle

Put your imagination to work, but don't let it run the whole show.  Being scared is a fun sort of thing, but only in moderation.  Being scared by monsters is one thing, being scared by current events is another.  It's fun to be scared by things that you know aren't real.  Today is the day to enjoy that phenomenon.  Try reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein instead of the latest reports of the Frankenstorm.


Imagination creates some big monsters.
Olivier Martinez

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Brawling Debate

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
~Edward Wallis Hoch

The Fight 2012 #1

We're coming to the end of the political campaign.  Finally, we're down to the last weeks before election day.  I; for one, will be glad when it's over.  I can only take so much negativity.  I know it will get more negative before it's over, but at least the end is in sight now.

 I appreciate that these people are willing to make an effort to improve the lives of everyone.  That is an impossible task.  I appreciate that there are many thoughts on how this can be done.  What I don't appreciate is the idea that one party is evil or *fill in the blank with whatever negative word you want*.  Everyone is striving for the same end goal.  I don't believe that any one person or party gets into politics so that they can either damage the world or control it.  (I'd like to think that only happens in books and movies.)   

Why can't we all just get along?  I suppose that's the nature of the beast.  Differing opinions among people with strong opinions lead to heated debates.  What I don't like is people telling me what their opponent did wrong.  When my children get in a fight, I ask what they did.  Once they start veering into telling me what the other did, I stop them.  It just makes me crabby.  Don't keep going on about what the other guy plans to do wrong or has already done wrong.  Tell me what your plans are.  Tell me about the good ideas you have.  Brow beating your opponent just turns me off. 

Can you tell that I watched part of the debate on Tuesday night?  I was in and out of the room.  One would start attacking the other, and I'd leave.  I don't want to hear it.  You don't like what they did; quit blathering on about it and tell me what you would do differently.  It really sounded like a couple of kids each trying to get the other in trouble with the teacher.  I suppose that at some level that's exactly what they were doing. 

You may not agree with my ideas.  You may think I'm way off in what I think is important.  But, that doesn't give you any right to tell me that I'm stupid because of it.  That certainly isn't going to persuade me to agree with your ideas.  Could you maybe just kindly tell me how a different idea could work better?  Can you take my ideas into consideration?  How much does it hurt to listen?  A lot apparently.  I don't think they're mortal flesh wounds, I think it just hurts their pride to admit that the other party may have a good idea or two.  

The players may not be able to hold their tongues, but we're a civilized society.  Mostly.  If you come across someone whose views you disagree with, there is no reason to make disparaging remarks to them about it.  

Until I take over the world, I guess I will just have to spend more time ignoring the political rhetoric. 

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
H. L. Mencken

elephant or donkey?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I want to be your friend.

 The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
~~Abraham Lincoln 

old book

I woke up to snow this morning.  It wasn't the first time this week either.  It's only October, and we've seen winter making itself heard.  I'm not quite ready for it.  The snowbirds are heading south.  Since I'm not a snowbird, I started clearing our winter path through the woods.  If we can get more snow than we got last year, I can spend some time out there on my snowshoes or cross-country skis.  We've had a fire going in the fireplace for over a week already and I've been fortunate to have a good book to curl up to it with.  

This is the time of year when there aren't many new books by favorite authors.  October is kind of a dry month for that.  Booksellers are waiting with new releases until the holiday shopping season starts in earnest.  Until then, you have to search around and find something written by someone you've never heard of before.  Either that, or catch up on the books you didn't find time to read over the summer.  Take a look at the best seller listings right now.  There might not be many authors you've heard of.  Although, some of the books on the list have been on there long enough that you might be living under a rock if you haven't heard of the Fifty Shades trilogy, and even those books are only on the paperback fiction list.  

If you don't go beyond a select group of authors, now is the time to try something new.  If you buy all your books, this may not be something you want to do.  Go to the library.  It's pretty much free.  Your tax dollars have already paid for your library card.  As long as you don't lose or damage a book, you don't have to pay to read.  Try to get your books in on time; but if you can't, late fees don't add up to much unless you're weeks late.  If you buy your books, use the library to find new authors.  Kind of a "try it before you buy it" thing.  Our library is pretty small, and we can't buy every book out there, but we can request things from other libraries.  Even libraries outside of our library system.  The great thing about libraries is that you can try a book out and if you don't like it, you don't have to read it.  You don't have to feel guilty about not reading it either.  It didn't cost you anything!

If you don't have any idea what new authors to try, ask someone who works at a library.  Most of us can find something for you.  If the library worker you asked didn't or couldn't help, try a different one.  (We all have off days!)  Just ask, we're at your service.  And I love helping people find things!  If you don't have a library worker in your back pocket, give me a few lines in the comment area.  I'll find you something.  I'd love to be your new best friend. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Story hour begins again.

Life is about using the whole box of crayons.  ~RuPaul

Story hour started again yesterday.  The kids came into the library while I was assisting a patron in finding some books.   Since that is one of my most favorite things to do, we got started a little late.  Since I also hadn't done much planning ahead, we got started a little later than late.  I guess I'm a fly by the seat of my pants worker.  And yet, things turned out fabulous.

I don't know where the idea came from exactly, but I decided we should read The Red Book by Barbara Lehman and Muffel and Plums by Lilo Fromm.

 The Red Book 

Find the similarity between these two very different books.  Ah ha, the similarity is that there aren't any words.  Stories told using just pictures are an interesting thing, especially with kids who've been in school for a couple of weeks where much of their work involves words.  

We're a very small community.  At the beginning of story hour I only had two kids in the room with me.  After the two books one of them left because his mom came to get him.  The child remaining poked her head out the door to yell "Hi" to her cousin playing in the park.  After a few minutes he wandered in and not long after that a friend of his walked past the door and was enticed to join us.

After making the late-comers read the books, they joined us in making our own books of stories without words.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.  The three kids and I made a total of about six and a half books (the half was mine).  They were kind enough to draw bar code labels on them so that they could be checked out by some of our other patrons.

Now, a person does not create a book without words without talking.  At least they don't when they're in a group.   It was fun to join in their conversations about books, library cards, and the colors best used in making a girl's hair; among other things.  It was interesting to note how difficult we all found it to tell a story without using words.   Mostly, we told our stories using a bare minimum of words.  

 A picture is worth a thousand words.  I looked to find where that saying came from, but it's not completely clear who said it first.  I was surprise to find the quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte on one quote site.  I think a picture is sometimes worth more, sometimes less than the thousand words.   

After story hour was over, the kids set up their books along the shelf where our new books can be found.  A few hours later, one of the kids brought in a friend to show him the books he made.  

How great is that?