Friday, February 29, 2008

Living Dead Dolls

I first noticed the living dead dolls when I was in high school. As much as I wanted one I never got one.
I have since found that there are certain sets available that could appeal to the bibliophile:

Edgar Allan Poe and Annabelle Lee
Living Dead Dolls Edgar Allan Poe & Annabel Lee Doll Set
Living Dead Dolls Presents Edgar Allan Poe and Annabel Lee

The American author, Edgar Allan Poe's final poem was "Annabel Lee," written in 1849 and published shortly after his death that same year. It is unclear whether the "Annabel Lee" character in Poe's poem referred to a real person. Some say it was written for his wife, some for a lover, and others that it was the product of Poe's gloomy imagination. Regardless, this LDD set of dolls comes outfitted in period clothes, and comes complete with a raven and a book of poetry.

Window box packaging.

Other people of possible interest:
Lizzie Borden
Living Dead Dolls Mini (Lizzie Borden)
Jack the Ripper
living dead doll
American GothicLiving Dead Dolls Exclusive American Gothic
The Black DhaliaLiving Dead Dolls Series 5 Dahlia Doll

Choke - The Movie

I have been meaning to mention this for some time and there is no way my words can convey this joyous news to you better than the writers on the cult:

Choke will hit theaters on August 1st, 2008!

Cast and crew of Choke at The 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Big News: Choke has been purchased by Fox Searchlight for $5 million. Choke has also won Best Ensemble Cast jury award at Sundance!

Chuck’s fourth novel Choke tells the story of Victor Mancini, self-proclaimed sex addict and fake restaurant choker. Turning regular diner patrons into instant “heros,” Victor fakes his way through life, exploiting funds from good Samaritans to keep his old mother from death’s door.

Choke had an approximate 30 day shooting schedule over the summer of 2007. It was budgeted at roughly 2 million dollars, and shot on location in Vernon, New Jersey. It sold on Tuesday, Jan 22nd, to Fox Searchlight Pictures for $5 million. Check out this interview with first-time director Clark Gregg on adapting Choke. Chuck has raved about Gregg's script, and already reviews pouring in from Sundance have been very positive. A little history on Gregg: He wrote the Robert Zemeckis thriller What Lies Beneath and, as an actor, is a regular on the hit TV show The New Adventures of Old Christine. Gregg adapted Choke into screenplay form and has been championing the project for years now. Here is Clark Gregg's IMDB page.

Recently finished:

Marjane Satrapi

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Snap This Up

Toy cameras started in the 90s in a book shop. So this is Superheadz's way to say thanks to all book shops and book lovers. This imaginary Russian book is fitted with a camera inside it.
After taking great photos with it, you can keep it inconspicuously on your book shelf. It comes with a normal lens and a close-up lens.

Lens: 23.1mm f8
Shutter: 1/80
Film advance: Manual
Film: 110mm film (film sold separately here.)
Flash : None
Body Size: 110x31x68mm
Weight: 110g
Accessories include: Paper case, manual.

Price: AUD$70.00

To Purchase

Recently finished:
Persepolis 2
Marjane Satrapi

This is an auto-biographical graphic novel series about growing up in Iran during a time of war as well as traveling around Europe while trying to figure out who you are in a world when you feel you can't go home - or at least not yet.

The Other Boleyn Girl
Phillipa Gregory

I'd seen a few of her books around during the time I spent working in the back of a bookstore. The back seemed interesting enough but I never felt the full compulsion to purchase.

More than happy with this book I was not disappointed by finding that this was a series that needed to be read in a particular order. Hopefully soon I will make my way through the rest of what I am nearly certain will be a truly wonderful series.

If you have already read and any of the above books - rejoice - they will very soon be made into movies.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wearing Your Books on Your Pants Beats Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Here is my very own pair of Sergio Valente jeans featuring the first portion of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen along with her silhouette.

If you are terribly fond of them contact me to make a pair for you or some other piece of literary clothing.


Recently finished:
Lolita Nabakov

Grossly different from the movie (or at least what I remember). The movie is incredibly tame and fails to show you the full weight of Humbert Humbert and Lolitas situation.

The Bell Jar

Some of you sadly only know this as the book read by sister Kat in 10 Things I hate about you (if this is the case shame on you go read taming of the shrew!!!).
I was truly blown away by this book. At the start I was unaware that this is only semi autobiographic.
Definitely a new favourite for me.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Kenneth Allan

Literary Drunks

I have run across a couple of local bars. Once called - The Thirsty Scholar. The other - The Library. I have been wanting to go for about a year now.

A few months back I bought an absinthe fountain, glasses, spoons, sugar, and (of course) absinthe and sat around with some friends pretending to be famose absintheur authors and artists.

I've seen a few drinks named for authors or books and we have all heard of writers sitting in the smoky corner of a bar - writing while they drank.

Great Gatsby recipe

2 oz vodka
2 oz gin
1 splash sweet vermouth
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine gin and vodka in a martini glass. Splash with sweet vermouth and add fresh lemon juice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

From Hemingway and Bailey's Bartending Guide to Great American Writers illustrated by Edward Hemingway and written by Mark Bailey. Illustrations © 2006 by Edward Hemingway and text © 2006 by Mark Bailey. Reprinted by permission of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
By Edward Hemingway

1899-1961. Novelist and short-story writer. Hemingway was one of the principal figures of the Lost Generation. As a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star, he developed a minimalist style. With his second novel, 'The Sun Also Rises,' he immediately became a literary star. In 1954 Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"A man does not exist until he is drunk."

Hemingway was not one for pretension, literary or otherwise. In a famous incident at Costello's, a New York writers' haunt, he found just the opportunity to make those feelings known. After drinking in back with friends, he passed John O'Hara at the bar. O'Hara was carrying an Irish blackthorn walking stick (shillelagh) and Hemingway began to mock him for it. Defensively, O'Hara claimed that it was "the best piece of blackthorn in New York." Hemingway immediately bet him fifty dollars that he could break it with his bare hands. Then in one swift move he smashed the walking stick against his own head, snapping it in half. The broken pieces hung over Costello's bar for many years.

Mojito Recipe

Hemingway is associated with any number of cocktails, but perhaps none more so than the Mojito. The drink was invented at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba, where Hemingway drank them. So did Brigitte Bardot, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante, Erroll Flynn and countless others.

6 fresh mint sprigs
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. light rum
Lime wedge

Crush 5 mint sprigs into the bottom of a chilled highball glass. Pour in lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Fill glass with crushed ice. Garnish with lime wedge and remaining mint sprig. Sometimes a splash of club soda is added.

From 'The Three-Day Blow,' 1925

"I'm a little drunk now," Nick said.

"You aren't drunk," Bill said... Bill poured the glass half full of whiskey.

"Put in your own water," he said. "There's just one more shot."

"Got any more?" Nick asked.

"There's plenty more, but Dad only likes me to drink what's open."

"Sure," said Nick.

"He says opening bottles is what makes drunkards," Bill explained.

"That's right," said Nick. He was impressed. He had never thought of that before. He always thought it was solitary drinking that made drunkards.

William Faulkner

William Faulkner
By Edward Hemingway

1897-1962. Novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter. Faulkner’s southern epic, the Yoknapatawpha cycle, includes his most celebrated novels, 'The Sound and the Fury,' 'As I Lay Dying,' 'The Light in August,' 'The Unvanquished,' and 'Absalom, Absalom!' His most famous screenplays are 'The Big Sleep' and 'To Have and Have Not.' In 1949, Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"Civilization begins with distillation."

Unlike most writers, Faulkner, from the very beginning of his career, drank while he wrote. He claimed, "I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach." That he did. In Hollywood, hired by director Howard Hawks to write Road to Glory, Faulkner showed up to a script meeting carrying a brown paper bag. He pulled out a bottle of whiskey, but accidentally sliced his finger unscrewing the cap. If the film’s producer thought the meeting was over, he was wrong. Faulkner dragged over the wastepaper basket -- so he could gulp whiskey and drip blood as they hashed out the story.

Mint Julep Recipe

In the early 1800s, doctors used the word julep to describe "a kind of liquid medicine." These were remedies in which leaves from the mentha family were used to soften the taste of the medication. Of course, this is not to suggest the Mint Julep is good for you, but it may be what Faulkner had in mind when he said, "Isn’t anythin’ Ah got whiskey won’t cure." He was so much an authority on the drink that the famous Musso & Frank Grill in Los Angeles let him mix his own.

7 sprigs of mint
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3 oz. bourbon

Crush 6 mint sprigs into the bottom of a chilled double Old-Fashioned glass. Pour in simple syrup and bourbon. Fill with crushed ice. Garnish with the remaining mint sprig and serve with two short straws. Sometimes a splash of club soda is added.

From 'Sanctuary,' 1931

Gowan filled the glass level full and lifted it and emptied it steadily. He remembered setting the glass down carefully, then he became aware simultaneously of open air, of a chill gray freshness and an engine panting on a siding at the head of a dark string of cars, and that he was trying to tell someone that he had learned to drink like a gentleman. He was still trying to tell them, in a cramped dark place smelling of ammonia and creosote, vomiting into a receptacle.

Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers
By Edward Hemingway

1917-1967. Novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and screenwriter. McCullers achieved early acclaim with her first novel, 'The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.' After receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship, she wrote 'The Member of the Wedding,' another critical success; her adaptation for the stage was awarded the Drama Critics Circle Award. The novella 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe' is perhaps her finest work.

"I'm drinking hot tea and not doing much."

Not nearly so powerful as a Long Island Iced Tea, McCullers' favorite drink while writing was a mixture of hot tea and sherry that she kept in a thermos. She named the concoction "sonnie boy" and, often claiming it was only tea, would drink straight through the workday. McCullers must have felt the liquor helped her creativity. At Yaddo, the famous writers' colony, she began with a beer at the typewriter just after breakfast, then moved on to her "sonnie boy," and finished with cocktails in the evening.

Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

Notorious, the Long Island Iced Tea (when made correctly) is incredibly potent, but tastes and looks like nonalcoholic tea. It's perfect for discreet drinking, which McCullers indulged in often. But be warned, invented in the Hamptons by bartender Robert Butt, the Long Island Iced Tea will knock you out cold if you're not careful.

1⁄2 oz. gin
1⁄2 oz. vodka
1⁄2 oz. tequila
1⁄2 oz. light rum
1⁄2 oz. Cointreau
3⁄4 oz. lemon juice
Top with cola
Lemon wedge
Top with cola
Lemon wedge

Pour all ingredients except cola and garnish into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake, and then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Add cola until color of tea. Garnish with lemon wedge. Serve with two straws.

From 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,' 1951

The whisky they drank that evening (two big bottles of it) is important. Otherwise, it would be hard to account for what followed. Perhaps without it there would never have been a café. For the liquor of Miss Amelia has a special quality of its own. It is clean and sharp on the tongue, but once down a man it glows inside him for a long time afterward. And that is not all. It is known that if a message is written with lemon juice on a clean sheet of paper there will be no sign of it. But if the paper is held for a moment to the fire then the letters turn brown and the meaning becomes clear. Imagine that the whisky is the fire and that the message is that which is known only in the soul of a man -- then the worth of Miss Amelia's liquor can be understood.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald
By Edward Hemingway

1896-1940. Novelist and short-story writer. With his first novel, 'This Side of Paradise,' Fitzgerald became the spokesman for the Jazz Age. 'The Beautiful and the Damned' came next, followed by Fitzgerald's masterpiece, 'The Great Gatsby,' considered by many the finest American novel of the 20th century. 'Tender Is the Night' was published nine years later. Fitzgerald's last novel, 'The Last Tycoon,' was published posthumously.

"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."

Fitzgerald's preferred liquor was gin; he believed you could not detect it on the breath (a funny notion given his remarkably low tolerance). He would get roaring drunk on very little, but then it was the Roaring Twenties, and he was the symbol. Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, were a pair of drunken pranksters. There are stories about how they jumped into the fountain at the Plaza Hotel, boiled party guests' watches in tomato soup, stripped at the Follies. Invited to an impromptu party, "Come as you are," he and Zelda arrived in their pajamas. Zelda soon enough removed hers and danced naked. Did anyone have to smell their breath to know?

Gin Rickey Recipe

It is easy to imagine a warm summer evening out on the shore of Long Island -- say a party at Gatsby's house, the bartenders serving up light, refreshing Gin Rickeys as the jazz band swings. In the 1920s and '30s there were any number of Rickeys (scotch, rum, applejack), but gin is the one that endured. And besides, it was Fitzgerald's favorite.

2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. lime juice
Top with club soda
Lime wheel

Pour gin and lime juice into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top with club soda, and stir gently. Garnish with lime wheel. Serve with two straws.

From 'Tender Is the Night,' 1933

By one o'clock the bar was jammed; amidst the consequent mixture of voices the staff of waiters functioned, pinning down their clients to the facts of drink and money...

In the confusion Abe had lost his seat; now he stood gently swaying and talking to some of the people with whom he had involved himself...

Across from him the Dane and his companions had ordered luncheon. Abe did likewise but scarcely touched it. Afterwards, he just sat, happy to live in the past. The drink made past happy things contemporary with the present, as if they were still going on, contemporary even with the future as if they were about to happen again.

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler
By Edward Hemingway

1888-1959. Novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter. Most famous for his seven novels featuring the detective Philip Marlowe. Chandler's best-known screenplays include 'Double Indemnity,' 'The Blue Dahlia,' and 'Strangers on a Train.' He is considered Dashiell Hammett's principal successor.

"I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle."

Paramount Studios put the movie The Blue Dahlia into production before Chandler had written a line of the script. Unfortunately, two weeks into shooting, he had yet to find an ending and was suffering from writer's block. He told his producer, John Houseman, that although he was a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for some time, he could only finish the script if he relapsed completely. Houseman arranged for Paramount to place six secretaries at Chandler's house around the clock. A doctor was hired to give him vitamin shots, as he rarely ate when drinking. Limousines waited outside, ready to run pages at a moment's notice. In the end he produced one of his best original scripts, and the story of his self-sacrifice became Hollywood legend.

Gimlet Recipe

It wasn't until Chandler's detective Philip Marlowe introduced the Gimlet in The Long Goodbye that the cocktail finally caught on in America. Surprisingly, the recipe did not use fresh lime juice. As Chandler wrote, "A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow."

2 oz. gin
1 oz. Rose's Lime Juice
Lime wedge

Pour gin and lime juice into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

The Gimlet can also be served on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass.

From 'The Long Goodbye,' 1953

"I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste it slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar -- that's wonderful.

I agreed with him.

"Alcohol is like love," he said. "The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off."

Tequila Mockingbird (real drink: tequila, lemon juice, creme de menthe)
The Scarlet Letter Jello Shots (vodka, jello)
Grapes of Wrath (grape-infused caipiroska/caipirinha)
Tristam Shandy (shandy: beer, lemonade)
Margarita Atwood (tequila, triple sec, lime juice, sugar)
Turn of the Screwdriver (vodka, orange juice)

Dostoevsky - Vodka
Graham Greene - Vermouth Cassis
John Dos Passos - Manhattan
James Joyce - Guinness
Dorothy Parker - Gin martini
Homer - Sea-dark wine
(And after that, you can use snot-green wine for Joyce)
Gin Miltonic

Charles Dickens Smoking Bishop

And if it's literary bars you are interested in:
Forbes Top 10 List
Literary Bars of Manhattan

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bilbliophile Weddings

Lesley Dill has created a dress that in a word (or many) is nearly perfect for bibliophiles and art lovers - the Dada Poem Wedding Dress.

Dada Dress

The dress is covered in words varying in size, boldness, and typeface. Sadly this is a dress you aren't physically able to wear but it sure gives me some ideas.

For more of Lesley Dills work you can follow this link

In doing my own wedding planning a few years back I ran across this delightful idea for a wedding cake.
The cake is covered in the names of all of the guests in attendance.

This lead me to wonder about book cakes. It seems that a cake made like a Bible is not an uncommon party favor for christening parties.
This could be considered a much more socially acceptable form of bibliophagy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Photo: jonathan_moreau [Flickr]

This public library in Kansas City, Missouri, has one seriously cool façade! From Deputy Dog:

Local residents were asked to nominate influential books that represent kansas city, humungous versions of the winning nominations were then used as the exterior of the library car-park.

The Book Building

Bibliophile Tattoos

Yeats Poem ---------->

Laurie Halse Anderson (with tattoo of the first word of Beuwolf)

Robert Frost Poetry Tattoo

Well, if you want a Robert Frost poetry tattoo, now you know where to get one:

Artist: Tattoos by Kane - Immortal Images Tattoos
Fredericksburg, Virginia
(540) 373-9711

There really is something very apt about picking this poem. But are there any poets out there using their own skin as a notebook? Would be kind of cool...

book tattoo

Author Fonts

Now you can type out school papers or whatever makes you happy in a font based on Jane Austen's (or Chopin or Dali) handwriting.

The Jane Austen typeface

It also looks like there is a Faulkner-esque font called "As I Lay Dying"

Friday, February 22, 2008

More Ideas for Book Storage

Here are some book decorating ideas courtesy of Apartment therapy

House of Cards, Nightstand of...Books?

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm one of those stacking types--I stack papers, junk mail, coffee cup sleeves, CD jewels, catalogues--you name it, and I will pile it up precariously in a corner, chuck a paperweight on it (if I can find one), and call it "organized." However, lately I've been seeing a bit of a trend in some decor magazines that feature nightstands that are really just a pile of coffee table books with a lamp perched on top.

Look! Store your Books in the Rafters


We were charmed to the core over this ingenius book storage idea. Yes, these are just planks of painted plywood nailed to the supports for the loft above. They create perfect cubby spaces to store books, baskets and even small lights. Since we're in California, it would probably be a good idea to secure everything in place so it doesn't shake right off.

It helps that the ceiling is lower than a normal one, so you can actually reach the books. But we thought it was a pretty slick way of storing books in a small space without taking up a lot of the walls or floor. It doesn't hurt that so many of the books are neutral colors too. What do you think? Have you got a space this'll work in?

Look! Books-as-art-as-colorblocks!

Color block books! We spotted this idea in the latest Pottery Barn catalog. They used a few rows of picture railing to display colored books face forward.

My Other Car is a BookMobile

The following is a compilation that Sterling Coleman made when he was still at LSU's School of Library and Information Science.

Bumper Stickers For Librarians:

"Saint Melvil"

"Spread the Word--Be a Librarian"?


"Honk if You Love Librarians!"

"I Like Librarians and Coffee Too."

"Librarians are Novel Lovers"

"Librarians know where it's at!"

"Do the Dewey!"

"Back off! Or I'll cross-reference the heck outta you!"

"Honk if you love DDC" (or "LC")!"

"Shh! High-level reference work in progress."

"Librarians Know the Answers... Do you Know the Questions?"

"Explore strange new worlds... visit the library."


"Serving your information needs (while also making the big $$)"

"Less shushing--more lushing !"


"May the source be with you !"

"Librarians have high shelf esteem !"

"Librarians always know...or know where to go!"

"Go to a library and see the world...through books!"

"Open your a book!"

"If knowledge is power, become a librarian, and enjoy the ultimate power trip!"

Most recently finished books:
What Would Dewey Do?
Secret Societies

If the Establishment Song Isn't Really Your Style . . .

  1. There's a place for you and a place for me,
    it's the local public library.
    They have books and things that they lend for free
    It's the latest, it's the greatest, it's the library.

  2. Educational, informational,
    entertainment that's sensational.
    It's a way of life, it's for you and me
    It's the latest, it's the greatest, it's the library.

  3. They have histories, they have mysteries
    And for mothers, books of recipes
    See a movie show, hear a symphony
    It's the latest, it's the greatest, it's the library.

Library Song
Michael Mark and Tom Chapin

Listen to this song.

This song is available on Tom Chapin's Moonboat.

Saturday morning and the rain is pouring.
Dad worked late last night, he's in there snoring.
Same old stuff on TV, boring.
So what if I can't go out and play, I know what I'll do today.

I'm going down to the Library,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
Gonna say Hi to the Dictionary,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.

Now I like books and they like me, so when I go to the Library
I sit down in my favorite chair and check to see who's there.
Maybe one book, maybe two. "Take me home," says Winnie The Pooh,
"And if we have to travel far I'll bring my honey jar."

Oh, I'm going down to the Library,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
Gonna say Hi to the Dictionary,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.

Sleeping Beauty yawned and said, "I'll come when I get out of bed."
But Madeline says, "Let her nap!" and jumps into my lap.
The Cat In The Hat says, "Hey, I'll go." "Don't take him!" cries Pinnochio,
"Don't take that cat to your address; he always makes a mess."

Oh, I'm going down to the Library,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
Gonna say Hi to the Dictionary,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.

Mrs. Parker's back behind the checkout desk today.
The Cheshire Cat jumps on her head and says, "Let's play!"
But Mrs. P. says, "Goodness, are you sure you want all these?"
"Oh yes!" we shout together. She says, "Shhh! Quiet please!"

I'm going down to the Library,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
Gonna say Hi to the Dictionary,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.

The Seven Dwarfs begin to shout, "Say, take us with you. Check us out!"
Then Cinderella gets her gown and Babar grabs his crown.
Then Curious George swings from the shelf. Along comes Mother Goose herself.
Out the door we danced and sang. The whole Library rang.

Oh, I'm going down to the Library,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
Gonna say Hi to the Dictionary,
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out.
I'm going down to the Li... Shhh!
Picking out a book, check it in, check it out!

This song is available on Tom Chapin's Moonboat.

Many thanks to Tom Chapin and Michael Mark for permission to publish these lyrics.

Learn the Rules!

(Flashback to Stewie on stage with long hair and a guitar)
Stewie: Uh, excuse me, it's been brought to my attention that a few bad apples are smoking marijuana. Uh, I've got news for you, my friend: marijuana's illegal, not cool! (Starts playing the guitar) Establishment, establishment, you always know what's best...
Hippie: You suck!
Stewie: Learn the rules!

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

    Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

    Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

    No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

    To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

    The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

    It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

    The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Online Dating for Book Worms

I have a friend who only met her husband because he caught her on a rare night of the year when she actually goes out - her birthday. Keeping your nose in a book sure can affect your dance card. No longer must that be a problem.

Still Fighting to End Self-inflicted Ignorance

The Genius Factory
This book centers around the the Noble sperm bank. The author reports on the creator of the banks quest to end mediocrity in society by breeding "superior children." Reader beware: this book contains sperm bank customers that can only be equated to stage mothers or soccer moms.

How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci
MUCH better than how to think like Einstein - however this does read a bit more like a biography of DaVinci.

How to Think Like Einstein
Full of things that should be considered common place ideas to insure or aid you in "thinking outside the box."

Instant Genius, The Cheat Sheets of Culture: Philosophy

Last Night at the Lobster

Rex Libris: I, Librarian
This Slave Labor Graphics (the same people who bring you Lenore, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, and Squee) comic centers around Rex Libris. Rex is a 2,000 year old librarian who once worked in Alexandria's famed library. Now, he works in the Middleton Public Library insuring that books are returned no matter where or who you are (i.e. demon samurai, an astronaut, or an evil alien overlord.)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are librarians and educators a disruptive influence?

Librarian action figure.jpg

Looks like there's a counter-revolt of sorts going on in the world of education, as librarians and educators - tired of being marginalized by technology (i.e. Google) - are fighting back. In Ohio, for example, librarians and educators are banding together to come up with a comprehensive strategy of disruptive innovation. The Disruptive Library Technology Jester has even posted an open letter to disruptive innovation guru Clayton Christensen in the hopes of sparking debate. The letter is noteworthy for another reason - it includes a generous helping of Internet jargon like "truly disruptive innovations" and "loosely coupled organizations." The Disruptive Library Technology Jester is a young blog (established in December 2005), but it looks like there's a lot of energy here. The tagline for the blog is "We’re Disrupted, We’re Libraries, and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore..."

Then, over at The Shifted Librarian, there's extensive commentary about an extreme makeover for libraries. There are a lot of interesting ideas here, including the notion from Omar Wasow ("Library 2.0") that "technology hollows out real estate." As an example, consider what ATMs did to bank branches. Does anybody actually go inside a bank anymore, unless they have to? The same thing, apparently, has happened to libraries. With Google available 24/7, does anybody actually go inside libraries anymore - unless they have to? The answer is: yes. But only if libraries focus on what has made them so important for hundreds of years: they are "temples of thought" and "public parks for the brain" that transform as much as educate.

Thanks to for this one

And Now for Something Completely the Same

We have until the end of February to get a kindle for a bit less. If that's appealing to you follow the link to savings!

Nancy Drew - Intruder
Classic Russian Short Stories Vol. 1 (The Shot, The Overcoat, The Trist, The Wedding, Prisoner in the Caucuses, An Upheaval)

A few words on Pygmalion:
This is not a case of if you have seen the movie (in this case My Fair Lady) the book is ruined. As a matter of fact this has increased my love of the story ten-fold. This one is much worth the read.

Yeah . . . so now I should really look into my next text books for next session.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Books Down for the Count As of Today

Read or Die 3
Read or Die 4
Under a Glass Bell

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tension Heache

Apparently I'm about to suffer tension headache. I've been told it's from reading the watching tv then being on the computer all the time. Something about how I hold my neck. Nuts to that. Here's what I've gotten down:
Read or Dream 1
Read or Dream 2
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu Batgirl

"In the public psyche, a librarian is a woman of indeterminate age, who wears spectacles; a person with either a timorous disposition or an austere disposition, wearing a long sleeved blouse buttoned to the neck; someone who loves silence, likes books, and suffers people. Librarians don't laugh. They are covered with a thin film of dust. They have pale skins, which, when touched (as if one ever could) might flake and prove to be reptilian scales."
~ Alison Hall, "Behind the Bun, or Batgirl was a Librarian "

Tatty's Devine

Glasses Necklace

A tiny pair of glasses on a chain, so you look like you want to be a librarian. Just a little bit.

Acrylic and metal alloy.

Glasses - 6cm x 1.5cm
Chain - 45cm