As far as blog posts go, this is most likely my last for a while. I will not be around in the summer or fall of this year. In the spring of 2009, I should be back at work. Provided that this blog is still operational, I will be back to posting then. I will continue to post on the Facebook page and continue to leave comments. This is my opening disclaimer for this post.

I have decided to make this a comment–oriented post. There are numerous books that I want to read in the upcoming months, but it seems that I can never get around to them. Sometimes I feel that I am being too ambitious and trying to read books that are too weighty for this time in my life, when I have a lot of things going on. But I think I will get around to reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I have heard generally good things about this book, and it seems to be very popular for a work of ‘literary fiction.’ It has been made in to a movie starring Viggo Mortensen that will premiere at Cannes in May. Before I see that film I will try to read this book and try not to picture Viggo Mortensen as the main character. Perhaps this will add another dimension of difficulty to the book.

I also want to get around to reading, at least partly, some of Pauline Kael’s writings in her various collections of Film Criticism. Trash, Art and the Movies is her most famous essay; I don’t think I’ve ever gotten around to reading all thirty-something pages. I would like to read The Citizen Kane Book: Raising Kane, where she argues that Orson Welles deserves more credit than is necessary for revolutionizing cinema with Citizen Kane, and even in the creation of certain aspects of the movie itself. I have read with interest other writings by Pauline Kael that I’ve read (what fan of movies hasn’t?) and feel the need to dig in to more.

But I need some recommendations as well. What are other good books that Snell Library has which are worth reading? What about movies? What is a good summer read. i.e something that is sort of silly but interesting? I still have two and a half more months in Boston (before I go to New York for a spell) and still need to spend some time in the Snell stacks.

Is reading on the Web really reading?

Here I go again on the subject of the Internet and our changing reading habits. I just finished reading a New York Times article (yes, I read it online) (also, be warned, it’s LONG for a web article) focusing on children and teenagers and whether the reading they do on the Internet is as valuable for their intellectual development as reading books. It reports that the number of teens who read books for pleasure is down, according to surveys — but does that matter, if they are still reading for pleasure but now primarily from online sources? The article discusses both sides of the issue and doesn’t draw any conclusions one way or the other, but it’s interesting food for thought. Do you think kids get the same value from reading blogs, online fan fiction, and so on, as they do from reading novels or nonfiction books?

ALA Celebrity READ Posters

If you’ve ever ventured into a public library, you’ve probably noticed celebrity READ posters. I’m always intrigued by the stars chosen, and their favorite books. Some seem obvious, such as Orlando Bloom with The Lord of the Rings. Some seem more surprising, like Shaquille O’Neal with Undying Glory.

How do you think the poster subjects are chosen? Do you have a favorite literate celeb you’d love to seem emblazoned on your library’s wall?


I love to read, and make sure to do it on a regular basis, and one stumbling block I occasionally run into is that I imagine all of my friends and family are as excited about it as I am. When it’s time to give a gift, the bookstore lures me in, and I always think that the perfect gift will be a special book that I enjoyed and want to pass along to someone I love. However, experience has taught me that after a point, a gift-recipient will say “Enough! They look good, but I’m never going to finish all of these.”

I try and pick out something that I found interesting and enjoyable, but different enough so I’m not just thrusting my specific taste onto someone. Some of my most successful selections have been Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai, The Passion by Jeannette Winterson, and If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I’ve learned that shorter works best!

Are there any books that you think make particularly good gifts?

Holiday Reads

At this time of year, the holiday spirit can be infectious. And if, like me, you thoroughly enjoy that spirit and are a book-lover, give in to temptation and immerse yourself in it with a few choice holiday reads. There are rightfully beloved classics such A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, or Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But there are also a host of others that touch briefly or indirectly on the topic and still seem imbued with that festive spirit. L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors to suit that purpose and her Anne of Windy Poplars fits the bill nicely. Anne invites her curmudgeonly fellow teacher, Katherine Brooke, home to Avonlea for Christmas and the season and Green Gables conspire to work their transformative magic on Katherine. Even though it’s a familiar outline, it still always makes me wish I too, were spending the holidays on Prince Edward Island!

Do you have any favorites? Plus, any grinches out there who have their own alternative or anti-holiday picks?