Another Turn of the Page: Hail to Librarians! It’s National Library Week

“Libraries raised me.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Librarians…possess a vast stone of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God’s green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is.”
Tatyana Eckstrand, The Librarian’s Book of Quotes

“Nonsense,” said another voice-Dr. Rust. “We’re librarians. When we don’t find what we’re looking for in the first place we look, we don’t give up.
We keep looking.”

― Polly Shulman

“That’s how librarians are. They just can’t help it.”
― Carla Morris

“It’s still National Library Week. You should be especially nice to a librarian today, or tomorrow. Sometime this week, anyway. Probably the librarians would like tea. Or chocolates. Or a reliable source of funding.”
― Neil Gaiman

Calvin and Hobbes copyright, Bill Watterson

Yes, it is National Library Week and being a retired librarian I have a soft spot in my heart for libraries and librarians. That’s why I just couldn’t stop with one quote for my header this month. Every librarian I have known is described accurately by Polly Shulman’s quote. They not only keep looking for the answer, they keep looking till they find the perfect answer. The internet stops as soon as it finds something that satisfies the question.

The hunt, the chase, to find an answer was one of my favorite parts of being a librarian. It was like solving a mystery or getting the answer to riddle. Especially when the question was one like this,

” I need that book that’s called Shakespeare, but it’s spelled with a “Ch” and the author starts with M…”
This wasn’t one of mine but the librarian who actually got this question figured out the patron wanted the book Chesapeake, written by James Michener. Fiction questions like that always depended on the librarian being well-read and knowing how to question the patron. Even today the internet would be hard-pressed to answer that one.

Today fact based questions are much easier to answer with Google. Before the internet I got a question I’ll never forget, “How do you get the smell of a dead body out of a car?”

Back then, instead of calling the cops, after finding some material on cleaning and disinfecting, I referred the person to the health department but today you can get 41,000,000 hits if you ask Google that same question. Still, you might need a librarian to find the answer that most suits your particular odor and situation. In the reference interview a good librarian would have to find out whose body it was. The dog? The cat? The neighbor?

So here’s to those Masters of Information! Bring yours a nice gift this week like Neil Gaiman suggests. And here’s the books we read last month, many, thanks to librarians.

 

  1. Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford (2016) 384 pages. The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio…and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC. Goodreads
  2. Pax Romana by Adrian Goldsworthy (2016) 513 pages. A history about how the Romans were able to maintain a fairly stable empire for so many centuries with only a handful of notable rebellions. The term “Pax Romana,”  literally means “Roman peace,” and refers to the time period from 27 B.C.E. to 180 C.E. in the Roman Empire.
  3. The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles (2009) 349 pages. Set in North Texas, this is the fictionalized version of, Britt Johnson, a slave freed immediately following the Civil War. His wife and children are kidnapped by Kiowa Indians and he rescues them single-handedly. Contains some graphic and bloody scenes.
  4. Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (2014) 284 pages. A heartwarming story about a ten-year old boy called Noel orphaned and evacuated from London to the small town of St. Albans during the blitz after the death of his guardian.
  5. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (2007) 394 pages. First in a series, this mystery is set in medieval Cambridge; its heroine, Adelia, is a “medical expert” or what we would term, a coroner. In this one she is called to examine the death of four children who the locals believe were victims of Jewish sacrifice.
  6. Tradition of Deceit by Kathleen Ernst (2014) 360 pages. Chloe Ellefson Mystery #5. A nice combination of  three different storylines. Roelke is in Milwaukee, and out of his jurisdiction, trying to find out who murdered his former partner. Chloe is in Minneapolis helping a fellow curator and restoration expert with the old Washburn Flour Mill, when the body of one of the local historians is found in the abandoned mill. Finally there is a flashback story to the late 1900’s of a Polish immigrant family, who worked in the mill. All three intersect in the end.
  7. A Separation by Katie Kitamura (2017) 231 pages. The narrator in this novel has separated from her cheating husband, Christopher, but her in-laws are still in the dark about their new status. So when she gets a call from her mother-in-law saying Christopher has gone missing while researching a book in Greece, she feels obligated to go looking for him. This has been touted as the next ‘Gone Girl’, but our reviewer didn’t find any similarities. She also found the book a bit slow.
  8. Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell (2015) 228 pages. Ruth Rendell has written mysteries for years and has been well liked, with a huge following. This is her last book before passing away in 2015. The publisher describes this book as “…an intriguing cat-and mouse-game of blackmail and murder. From diet pills, homeopathic cures, a desperate man who needs cash, a tenant, a friend, an opportunist, and a jealous neighbor. ” Unfortunately our reviewer found it disappointing.

Books You Can Eat

ribbonNational Library Week (this year, April 14 – 20) is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association. Each April libraries come up with very creative ideas to celebrate libraries, reading and books.  And it’s not just public libraries. I volunteer at the Cofrin Library at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and this year for the big week they held an Edible Book Fest. To make an edible book, participants can be inspired by a favorite book, involve a pun on a title or simply use food to shape a book. Bottom line, you have to be able to eat it. Being a lover of books and a former librarian I decided to try my hand at making a tasty novel.

The toughest part to making an edible book  is picking the book. Fortunately I had a list of titles we had compiled when we had the rebus contest. This was sort of the same idea, but instead of cutting pictures out of magazines, I had to make pictures out of food. One title spoke to me and I decided to go visually like a rebus rather than a pun. I sketched out an idea and went shopping.

ingredients

ingredients

This was about to become, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  by Philip K. Dick. And for those of you unfamiliar with this title, it was the basis for the movie Blade Runner.

The sheep came first. Chocolate cupcakes, white fluffy frosting, Snow Caps, Nerds and licorice gumdrops.

choccup

add gumdrops, snowdrops,nerds

add black gumdrops, Snow Drops,Nerds

Next the base. A square cake for the bed and a round cake for the dream. I trimmed the round cake so it would look like a dream bubble.

cutcake

Then the decorating began. I tried to make my android look similar to the Android Phone logo. As you can see there is no chance I’ll be sued for copyright infringement. The only other android I know is Data so this one would have to do. Frosting for pillow and blanket with Nerds for the blanket pattern. Jellybean dream bubbles and spaghetti for the antennae. Coconut for the grass. Finally the best part, the electric sheep get their cords and plugs.

Frosted.

Frosted.

Adding the Nerds.

Adding the Nerds.

Android w/ green spaghetti antennae

Android w/ green spaghetti antennae

Licorice/linguini plugs

Licorice/linguine plugs

Put all together I had my interpretation of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” I was surprised how much work it was and how long it took to make but it was worth it because I earned the “Biggest Wow Factor” award at the Edible Book Fest. Here’s the finished entry and if you follow this link you can view the other creative entries and the winners of People’s Choice, Punniest, Most Likely to be Eaten and Best Interpretation of a Title.

done2