Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Libraries

Let's talk about libraries. For some reason, three of the books I'm reading involve libraries in one way or another (and one involves books and teenagers, while the final one has nothing to do with the subject). Let's talk as Seth Margolis did, about your childhood library, or your child's public library, or the one you love the most.

And, I'm going to tell you about the libraries in the three books I'm reading since I'm not ready to review any of them.

The next book I review will be Ashley Hay's The Railwayman's Wife, a book set post-World War II in Australia. Anikka Lachlan becomes the librarian at the Railway Institute's library. But, even before she does, she and her family use the local library. "Such fascinating things, libraries. She closes her eyes. She could walk inside and step into a murder, a love story, a complete account of somebody else's life, or mutiny on the high seas. Such potential; such adventure-there's a shimmer of malfeasance in trying other ways of being."




I'm reading Con Lehane's Murder at the 42nd Street Library, set at the building we all think of as THE New York Public Library. And, although he's added a room or a collection here or there, anyone who has been there will recognize the lions, the reading room, even the doors by the children's department. And, I had two Advanced Reader's Copies here, but it wasn't until I opened an actual hardcover of the book that I saw Con dedicated it, "For Librarians Everywhere", and acknowledged some of us. I have to thank him for the lengthy acknowledgement, although I can't even remember what I told him about libraries.



The third book I'm reading is not totally about libraries. It's an ARC, 502 pages, that isn't due out until the end of May, but I started it now to slowly read and appreciate the essays in it. The View from the Cheap Seats is Neil Gaiman's collection of over sixty nonfiction essays. Gaiman loves libraries, supports libraries, and speaks often of books and libraries and his childhood spent in libraries. Gaiman's first essay in the book is "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming," which was a speech. His second one was also a speech, his Newbery acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book. It includes the story of his childhood in the public library.


That first speech, made in England in support of libraries, is eloquent in its passion. "We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future."

Three totally different books that, by serendipity, happened to end up next on my TBR pile all at the same time.

Now, if you're so inclined, you can discuss your favorite library, your childhood library, or any of the quotes or comments about these books. I can't wait to read your notes.

13 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

By coincidence I'm also reading a "library" book, Rachel Caine's INK AND BONE, first in a new YA series (the second is due this summer) about the Great Library in Alexandria. The conceit of this series is that the library survived and, basically, controls all knowledge by outlawing private ownership of books, with library approval needed for "approved" reading. Then there's a kind of Harry Potter-esque turn. So far, so good.

And thanks for the heads-up on the Gaiman book, which is now on my library "hold" list. The others sound interesting too.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

As far as real libraries go, one of my favorite things as a kid was being able to take out up to 10 books for the summer. That was when I read THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and others like I MARRIED ADVENTURE by Osa Johnson about her life with husband Martin Johnson exploring the world and having adventures.

I also developed the habit of just wandering at random through the fiction aisles for an hour or two and seeing what book(s) caught my eye. I later did this once a week at the main Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, and still occasionally do it at my local branch. My mother took us to the library and turned at least one of her children into a library and book lover.

Bill Crider said...

I love libraries. I'd need a lot of time to talk about it, so maybe I'll write something for my blog later (if I can remember to do it). I'll be going to the library here today if it's not raining to return THE SERPENT KING, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

Lesa said...

I wrote down Ink and Bone, Jeff. That one sounds like one I'd appreciate. You're welcome. The Gaiman book is wonderful! You'll appreciate it. I can read and essay here and there, and then put it down. But, it's hard to put down a book by an author who shares so much of himself.

Lesa said...

Or, you can always write something for my blog about libraries, Bill! But, I'll read it on your blog eventually, if you don't. (smile)

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I reserved the Lehane book too. I love that building.

SandyG265 said...

I love my local library. We go there several times a week to read the papers and check out books. They also have a vegan cooking class once a month which we attend.

Mark Baker said...

We made weekly trips to the library when I was a kid, and I'd wander around checking out my favorite authors on the shelves. I always took out more books than I could possibly hope to read, which is still the case now, only I buy them instead of getting them from the library.

Lesa said...

I love that building, too, Jeff. I'm glad I'm an enabler.

Lesa said...

I'm so glad you use your local library regularly, Sandy, for books, newspapers, programs. Good for you & the library!

Lesa said...

Somehow those habits stick, don't they, Mark?

Janet said...

Funny, but I just posted about libraries over at my blog Book Road: rt 365. I love libraries. This book goes on my TBR list.

Carol N Wong said...

My favorite library is the downtown Indianapolis Public Library, I loved that library for its architecture, my father used to take me there and later as an adult I returned to research our family history.
Have you been there?