Library Column–June 1, 2006

All of my library columns will be up on the web-site soon. I’ve discovered that blog software makes it easy to post stacks of stuff. It has been interesting to read through my evolution as a columnist. My favorite so far is my column on the appearance of brand names in fiction.

The Friends of the Warren Library will be at the Farmers’ Market this Saturday. Plenty of good, cheap books, as usual. See you there.

My radio program is every Monday at 9 AM on WMRW 95.1 FM. I’m skipping Memorial Day, May 29 because the library will be closed, but the program on June 5 will be something special. Rep. Carol Hosford and I will be talking about mercury, in teeth, in vaccines and in the environment.

We are still searching for a children’s librarian. If you’re interested, please give me a call at 496-3913. The main qualifications needed for the job are an interest in children and enthusiasm.

Summer book discussions will launch on June 14 with Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. We received a generous grant from the American Library Association and Nextbooks to support a series of discussions of five Jewish books, including The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley, a well-known
Vermont writer. Please drop in to pick up the first book of the series at the Warren Library or the Joslin Memorial Library. The scholar for the entire series will be Fran Cerulli.

We recently received a large stack of new books. Come on in and check them out. As always, my reading runs far behind our acquisitions. Most of the books reviewed below have been in the library for a little while.

Bait and Switch: The Futile Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich. The author of Nickel and Dimed checks out the awful fate of middle class unemployed people in America. She disguises herself as an unemployed publicist and goes job hunting. After several months of hard work (and a lot of money spent) she was still unemployed.

A Place Called Sweet Shrub by Jane Roberts Wood (audio cassette). A sequel to The Train to Estelline. Set in Texas and Arkansas in 1915 the story addresses racial hatred and economic inequality and injustice, with some gender inequity tossed in for good measure.

The Queen in Winter by Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn and Sarah Monette. Romantic fantasy tales combine magic and love, sometimes leavened with humor.

Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop-From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication by Neil Gershenfeld. The remarkable story of how MIT has been placing “fab labs” around the world, India, Norway, Ghana, inner-city Boston, to make it possible for people to directly transform their daily lives by creating the custom objects they need. For example, the lab in India makes custom instrumentation for assessing the quality of milk. The lab in Boston turns trash into usable objects. Exciting.

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer. Suspense thriller links together a great work of art, a cold-blooded assassin, an evil banker, an English aristocrat (with butler), an FBI agent and an art expert who is  forced to pretend that she died on September 11, 2001. Great fun for those who like slightly over the top narratives and a lot of time spent in airports.

See you at the Library!

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