Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's the end of the world as you know it.

Pop quiz.

Who said: "Let's face it: the library, as a place, is dead. Kaput. Finito. And we need to move on to a new concept of what the academic library is."

You're never going to get this.

It was Suzanne E. Thorin, dean of libraries, Syracuse University.

To be fair, Ms. Thorin says that she made this very extreme statement as part of a debate at the 2009 Educause Conference.

Okay.

Or, should I say, ooooooo-kay.


Funny thing is that there are only 1.1 million books in residence. The rest of Club Bird, as the kids call it, is filled up with student lounge areas, seminar rooms that faculty members say they don't need, and a coffee bar.

I understand the use of the provocative statement to generate discussion but, if you were the dean of libraries for an institution I was attending or teaching at, I think I'd prefer you to put books ahead of coffee beans.

Even if you think the joint is kaput.

Peep peep peep.

Over at the Bookninja shop you can jump into the middle of a really interesting discussion about the unfortunately named genre of chick lit, spawned by a post about this post by Harriet Evans over at the Guardian.

The really ham-handed Cliff's Notes version of the discussion?

Women writers aren't being taken seriously enough because of the impulse to wrap the work of all and sundry in saccharine sweet pink covers featuring smartly manicured Manolo shod feet, toss the lot on the same center bookstore table and head off for cosmos.

The original Guardian bit is interesting, the 'ninja's post is interesting and the reader comments over at Bookninja are worth double the price of admission.

I'm keen on the subject for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that The Author and I submitted a panel discussion proposal to a conference on the literary "gay ghetto." Much like chick lit, books dealing with LGBT subject matter that are not psychology texts tend to end up shelved one right other...the work of Andrew Holleran smacked up against Palm Beach Boy Toy (1).

I don't think that either of these concerns are literary elitism or book snobbery, but the reality is that you really are judged by the company you keep. When I walk by the section that is supposed to be "Gay Literature" and realize that every other subtitle includes the word "erotica" than I have to believe that it's making some kind of impression on the people who wander past wondering where the new Nigella baking book has been shelved (2).

That's not to say that erotica writing is bad, but it's not the beginning and end of gay literature.

And so it's noted, the panel wasn't accepted by the conference despite the fact that it would have included gay and lesbian authors who, at the time, had new, well-received books on the shelves.

Of course those shelves were in the back of the store.

Behind the chick lit display.

1. Not a real title as far as I know...but I'm not going to be the one to Google it.
2. More on book browsing to come. See that there? I just teased an upcoming post.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Code talker.

So, that thing that everyone wants me to be excited about?

Over and over and over again.

Well, I am excited for them.

I think it's great.

Wonderful.

Fantastic.

Brilliant.

Genius.

Okay. Now maybe we can stop.

Because, honestly, I'm kind of tired of being excited for everyone else because it mostly just reminds me that no one is going to ever be excited for me when it comes to that.

It's not their fault.

Just like how I feel about it isn't mine.

Everybody clear on that?

Good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something's burned.

Today I've laid really low, taking advantage of the fact that both my day jobs were closed for the Veteran's Day holiday and no one is opening a show tonight.

The start of the week has been really rough and I was grateful for the chance to sit, do laundry, do some work on my own schedule and crank out quite a bit of food in the kitchen (1).

Today's background music has been pretty limited. With the exception of a pair of Bewitched episodes it was either NPR or Bravo's Top Chef marathon.

A few weeks ago This American Life did a piece about that favorite reality show catchphrase: "I didn't come here to make friends!"

This is not something the Top Chef contestants say a lot.

What they do say, a lot, is, "I'm just sorry I didn't get a chance to show everyone what I can really do."

If you're knocked out the first or second week I can see that.

After that it kind of loses its potency because, well, a few million people have seen what you can do.

1. Our CSA deliveries have gotten ahead of me so there's a mushroom leek soup, an apple squash soup, a broccoli soup and a whole lot of applesauce. A whole lotta applesauce.

Storybook Romance

The New York Times put out their list of the top picture books of 2009.

There's nothing better to me than a really well-done children's book. Something with a story that sets you back on your heels and art with enough edge that you feel like you're passing along something rich and wonderful.

Like you're giving a kid a book that will make them loving reading and literature rather than passing along a clever bit of product placement.

The best of '09 includes Shaun Tan's book tales from outer suburbia.

One look and there's no doubt why.

Looking to brighten up this dreary, rainy Wednesday?

Check out the good stuff at Tan's Web site.

If I was cooler I'd say he's "da bomb."

But I'm not.

So I won't.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And so has he.

I'll admit it.

I'm feeling a little bit stressed.

Some, like The Freelancer, think this is my natural state.

That is not true.

Or, I think it isn't. I mean, if it was, I probably wouldn't notice it.

Right?

The first rule of Nabliboomooo, there is no Nablubahbam

See what happened back there?

The minute I mentioned trying to do National Blog Posting Month I missed a day.

Yesterday was a disco inferno without the disco. No mirror ball. No white leisure suits.

No Roberta Flack.

Just too many deadlines and responsibilities and new things happening at the same time. A panic attack. A late night/early morning trying to make deadline. A general sense of "blah" when I think about what it is I put together.

And the echo of two words in my head: epic. fail.

So, I'm feeling kind of punk on a number of fronts this morning but this...well this was just a bummer.

A Nabliboombop-bummer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Naplablahblomahamadoooo.

Artboy: I have to get a blog post in.

Leopold: Why?

Artboy: Because it's Nahblublablowblooblah (1).

Leopold: And what is Nahplahblueblahblahboo (2)?

Artboy: It's National Blog Posting Month where people who have blogs are challenged to do one post every day for the month of November. There's a lot more to it than that but, since I started the blog with the intention of posting once a day every day I'm using this as motivation.

Leopold: What if you just put that energy into working on a novel?

Artboy: Actually November is also National Novel Writing Month (3) where people are challenged to write a full novel in a month.

Leopold: So why aren't you doing that?

Artboy: Um...

And...scene.

1. Which, of course, translates to NaBloPoMo. There are banners and buttons and the like but I figure the moment I put something like that up here I'm pretty much announcing, "Hey world, look...it's another thing I'm not going to do!
2. Still, NaBloPoMo.
3. NaNoWriMo. Which really rolls right off the tongue.