May 01 2009


Anderson, M.T.

A "horrible-alternate-world-scenario" story recommended by my teen librarian friend Julie on the Anarchist Librarians discussion list, Feed imagines a realistic vision of a future where we're wired directly to computers, networks, and advertising. Anderson does a good job of creating a natural sounding teen speak, though sometimes it's so good, that it feels a little self-conscious.


When I asked her what her dad did, she said, "He's a college professor. He teaches dead languages."
"People study that?"
She shrugged. "I guess."
"Okay. So what are the dead languages?"
They're languages that were once important but that nobody uses anymore. They haven't been used for a long time, except by historians."
"Like what languages?"
"You know, FORTRAN, BASIC."
She slid off the bunk, and went to get her bag. She opened it and pulled out something, which was a pen. She also had paper.
I looked at her funny. "You write?" I said. "With a pen?"
"Sure," she said, a little embarrassed. She wrote something down. She put the pad of paper on my lap.
She asked me, "Do you know how to read?"
I nodded. "I can read. A little. I kind of protested it in SchoolTM. On the grounds that the silent "E" is stupid."
"This is the language called BASIC," she said.
On the paper, it said:

002110 Goto 013500
013500 Peek 16388, 236
013510 Poke 16389, 236

She read it to me. I could tell the numbers fine.
"So what does that mean?" I asked.
"It's the first thing my dad teaches the students on the first day," she said. "It means, 'I came, I saw, I conquered.'" p.53-54

It smelled like the country. It was a filet mignon farm, all of it, and the tissue spread for miles around the paths where we were walking. It was like these huge hedges of red all around us, with these beautiful marble patterns running through them. They had these tubes, they were bringing the tissue blood, and we could see the blood running around, up and down. It was really interesting. I like to see how things are made, and to understand where they come from. p.116

Apr 29 2009
Apr 30 2009

Welcome to the biblioblogosphere, !

In case y'all haven't noticed, Alycia is now blogging on her very own Drupal site. "This site is a place to share information pertinent to my life as a radical art librarian and a place to practice using drupal and monkey with technology from the home base in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn."

Apr 27 2009

LCSH Week 14: Miss Piggy and Indigenous Peoples

Library of Congress Subject Headings Weekly List 14 (April 8, 2009)

The Library of Congress, thanks to Muppet Wiki, welcomes MISS PIGGY, also BEARS AS PETS (not referring to Fozzie Bear, thank you very much), and what seem to be inconsistent headings for people who lived in countries before Europeans found them.

Apr 27 2009

Kitty Raises Hell

Vaughn, Carrie

For once I was less psyched to read a paranormal fiction series novel. I think I'm getting a little burnt out on them. I didn't enjoy this any less, but instead of a yummy snack on my usual menu of healthy enriching brain foods, it's becoming too much of the norm. Part of the problem feeding my carb-like genre fiction is that I privilege books I borrow from NYPL over Barnard/Columbia books because their due dates are more compelling. The rare books that I acquire in other ways (usually that are given to me) wait months or even years to get read. And what do I check out from NYPL vs. my academic library?--science and popular fiction, comic books and young adult literature. But what am I to do, I'm the English and American literature selector, so I have to read the reviews in Library Journal. Lately I've taken to saving appealing titles in RefWorks to read later, but it's not always possible to wait!

Apr 26 2009
Apr 24 2009

Tech and Reference: a Feminist Perspective

On Saturday April 25, 2009 ASIS&T and SILSSA will be jointly hosting a New Media Symposium at PMC room 609 from 2pm to 7pm. Pratt Institute, New York, NY.

Apr 24 2009

Pafko at the Wall: The Shot Heard Round the World

DeLillo, Don

"He speaks in your voice, American, and there's a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful." is the opening sentence in the novella that was originally the prologue to DeLillo's 827 pager Underworld. It’s a striking line, a powerful one, and to me, someone who reads few books written by men, a masculine line. I wonder if a woman, or for that matter a person of color could have written it. That's not to say women and POC can't write stunning openers, it's to say that there's a confidence in DeLillo's sentiment, that others will relate to him, that his voice is "your voice." One of the main characters in the book is a 14-year-old African-American, but there are no women present in the whole 81 pages, except a mention toward the end of a photograph of Frank Sinatra (also a character in the novella)'s wife Ava Gardner's cleavage, and perhaps a few other reference to everymen's wives. I'm not pointing this out to criticize necessarily, but to say that in reading this book, I was not on my own turf.


When you see a thing like that, a think that becomes a newsreel, you begin to feel you are a carrier of some solemn scrap of history. p.17

Apr 22 2009
Apr 22 2009

I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing

Abrahams, Kyria

I loved getting a glimpse into the world of Jehovah's Witnesses, as told by a former member, who broke free around the age of 20. Kyria Abrahams grew up in Pawtucket, RI, a highly intelligent, very funny, obsessive compulsive, no blood card carrying Jehovah's Witness. (Transfusions are evil, or at least spiritually and physically dangerous.) Sometimes the humor is a bit much, like Abrahams is trying too hard, but you forgive her because imbuing her crazy childhood with forced hilarity may be the only way she can face it. Other times the humor is so funny that I try to read it aloud to my spouse and can't without laughing. (The Smurf quote.)


We listened to an impossibly boring sermon, most of which was spent calling the Catholics idiots for thinking the wine actually turned into blood. I mean, please, what we served was clearly plain old wine coming out of a plain old bottle which just needed to be ingested by the 144.000 human bodies that God had personally chosen to sit at his right hand in heaven. Let's not get silly about it. p.27

Across the board, Smurfs were a well-known portal to the demon realm. Parents knew it; elders knew it. It was mentioned from the stage and in public comments during the Watchtower Study, often in the same breath as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. It proved the point that Satan was treacherous and vile, like a serpent. He would stop at nothing to turn us away from Jehovah, even targeting unsuspecting children.

Smurfs, it seemed, were decidedly un-Smurfy. Never once did I dare to Smurf a Smurf or Smurf a ride to Smurftown. I made it through the entire '80s without once owning a single item with a Smurf on it. And for my self-sacrifice in this matter, Jehovah found me totally Smurftastic. p.40

Apr 21 2009
Apr 20 2009

LCSH Week 13: abandonment of property and the pathology industry

Library of Congress Subject Headings Weekly List 13 (April 1, 2009)

  • Abandonment of property (Jewish law)
  • Degener's beardtongue
  • Hispanic American women college students
  • Pathology industry
  • Renter's insurance
  • Technology and blacks
Apr 15 2009

Buffalo Bill's Defunct

Simonson, Sheila

As regular readers of my blog and zine know, I'm interested in books and other media that feature librarians as characters (or are written by librarians). I'm especially fond of librarian characters that offer realistic portrayals of the profession, like this one does. 42-year-old Meg McLean, the new county library director in a small northwestern community, is one of the two protagonists of this "Latouche County Mystery." Her co-tagonist is, of course, a cop, cuz this is a detective story.

Apr 14 2009