Before I review another book, I feel that I must mention a few that I have found myself unable to finish. If it was the case that they simply sucked, I wouldn’t bother mentioning it here. BUT, they were Okaayyyy and on topics that interest me (dork alert). I have read OTHER books that handled the subject better, and I’ll share those also.
ALSO — I should point out SOMEWHERE that I “review” (the air quotes indicate my amateur status) SOME new books, along with many that may have already been reviewed to death. I feel, though, that it is never too late to salute a great read or try to save someone from wasting their time.
My first reluctant thumbs down goes to Quiet Please: Dispatches from A Public Librarian by Scott Douglas (2008, Da Capo). As a devotee but relative neophyte to the profession, I was sure that I would like it. I wanted to like it. I willed myself to like it, but….it was a BUMMER. Douglas is a GOOD writer, but, in an abbreviated form/delivery, I think. He was a frequent contributor to McSweeney’s online, and his “Dispatches from a Public Librarian” essays were entertaining. Somehow — accumulating those and pulling out the spicier bits makes for slow reading. That and the Wikipedia-type asides and endless footnotes, which I think were meant to be, in turns, edifying and humorous. The library he writes about, its patrons, and employees are SAD –BLEAK and PATHETIC also come to mind. I’ve been relieved to note I am not alone. Bookslut (whose blog/site I love) and the Textual Frigate blog had a similar reaction.
BUT, all is not lost! I can heartily recommend This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson. Check it out (literally and figuratively…heh heh, library humor). She looks at libraries and librarians in the information age, which is a timely angle. Notably, I found the section on Second Life VERY informative, in regards to the librarians therein (who knew?) and Second Life in general — as a friend’s husband had recently left her for a woman he met in Second Life who makes a living designing virtual bondage-wear (seriously)