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In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians

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3.28  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Here, in one volume, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has assembled a fascinating collection of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians: from such classics as Borges's "The Library of Babel" and Isaac Babel's "The Public Lib
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2002)
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3.28  · 
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 ·  292 ratings  ·  47 reviews


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Heather
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a library dork. I eat, sleep & work library, so of course, I had to read this book of short stories about libraries and librarians. So many good stories but my favorite was "Exchange" by Ray Bradbury. It gave me such a sweet sadness; it is a beautiful story. After I read that story I had to just close the book & let the feelings wash over me. It's a rare author that can make you feel precisely what he wants you to. Ohhhh....Ray Bradbury has become one of my favorite authors.

Many oth
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was expecting a cute book with a cute gimmick, a book with stories about librarians. What librarian wouldn’t buy that? I was surprised to find lots of good stories, stories that would have been good whether the main character was a librarian or a garbage collector. Favorites were stories by John Cheever, Saki, and Walter R. Brooks.
Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 rated it liked it
"Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians" - How could I pass that up?
Well, I didn't!
However, overall, I have to say this collection was good, but not awe-inspiring. Too many of the stories merely featured libraries or librarians, rather than having something to say *about* them. The collection as a whole didn't give me any particular sense of cohesiveness.

A general in the library /Italo Calvino
A very short story, well-crafted, about the unintended effect a library has on the soldiers assig
...more
Denae
Not bad as far as themed short story collections go. I was unable to read all of the book before having to return it to the library, but enjoyed what I did read. I particularly liked "The Phoenix" by Ursula K. LeGuin, and, for entirely different reasons, "Ed Has His Mind Improved." Overall, interesting book.
Jordan Parker
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Again, really wanted to like this one and it was just tough. Some stories were gripping and page turners and others were........well.......not like that at all. Quick read though and worth picking up if you got a beach chair, a beach, and a lot of sun and nothing else to do like I did the day I read this book.
#forMarkita
Jerry Delaney
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
People sneaked looks at the title of this book as I rode the El, and then looked up at me with pity in their eyes. Clearly I was the most boring man they had ever encountered on the train. Well, the hell with them. I really enjoyed the book.
The authors range widely: Italo Calvino, Ursula LeGuin, Isaac Babel,John Cheever, Ray Bradbury. And Alice Munro, of course. The law requires any short story collection to to include at least one by Munro. Or it should.As with any such collection of authors, a
...more
Mellen
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fun book. A few of the stories were a bit boring and gloomy. But most were worth reading. I read the book for a class, looking for stereotypes of librarians. Otherwise I don't think I would have noticed how the stereotype of the middle-aged, white, spinster librarian is used in several of the stories to represent the institution of the library; I also thought that male librarians represented some broad idea of knowledge.
Terry
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you love libraries and have a genuine fondness for the hard-working, knowledgable folks who keep libraries accessible and exciting, you should avoid this book. For the record, I do not care for the short-story genre, but these seemed particularly distasteful with their stereotyping and dismissive attitudes. Boucher and Bradbury and, perhaps, Greenberg rescued the collection form a one-star rating.
Kristi
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a book edited by a librarian about libraries and/or librarians?!? my partner saw this on my nightstand and laughed, remarking "this book is like you finding a unicorn on a hike through the forest." this, among many other reasons, is why i love her.

what a lovely collection of stories that all center around books or people who love books!! I didn't want it to end.
Gwen
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
I thought I would try reading some short stories, and now I remember that they just don't really work for me. I need something more massive. I really liked a few of these, especially one which hinged on deciphering an LC call number. Otherwise, just meh.
Erin
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
:) The librarian's mindset is very obvious in the selections made for this book - striving to capture a diversity of genres, countries, and time periods, and letting readers form their own conclusions, rather than trying to present a coherent narrative. It was an interesting lens to view the variety of ways that libraries and librarians are perceived. I was especially interested to see the very different ways that male and female librarians were portrayed.

I'll confess the first half was a bit du
...more
Dee
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I loved the idea of this book but unfortunately I didn’t love the content so much. There were only a handful of stories I really liked - Isaac Babel, Lorrie Moore, and Anthony Boucher were my favourites. But I have to say that it’s hard to rate and review collections as there’s really something in there for everyone!
Kathleen
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Impossible to rate the whole book. As collection of short stories some are gems, and some didn't touch me. I loved Italo Calvino's "A General in the Library"and Ray Bradbury's "Exchange" particularly.
Bob Kaufman
Some of the stories were good, others only so-so.
Kitty Jay
This anthology ranges from American to Italian to Russian to British writers, older works to contemporary, and from the mundane to the fantastic. Each supposedly revolves around librarians or libraries, but some of them are a bit of a stretch. The works that do, however, show no small amount of reverence toward those hallowed bastions of knowledge, and librarians or those who love them should find some delight in the stories.

It is hard to critique anthologies, particularly ones as diverse as th
...more
Julie Davis
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
I can't remember where I saw this mentioned. Possibly by Jenny from Reading Envy? At any rate, it has been some time since I've been grabbed by the throat by a short story collection. Granted, I've only read the first three, but I just couldn't put the book down - to the point where I was washing salad greens and trying to turn the page with my elbow. Perhaps it is the fact that the stories are about that thing I find most fascinating, the way that Story influences us ... and where better to fin ...more
Erin
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first few stories in this book, but they dropped into the mediocre soon after-- possibly because they all began to feature glum lady librarians who were unsatisfied with their lives. Still, I probably would have given it another star if it weren't for all the typos. They got really, really distracting.

Favorites:
Italo Calvino, "A General in the Library"
Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Phoenix"
Joanne Greenberg, "Gloss on a Decision of the Council of Nicaea"
Gina Berriault, "Who is it C
...more
Sarah W
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A unique volume of stories featuring libraries and librarians, primarily by well-known writers. I like to have a library school "therapy" read over school breaks, so I was happy when I randomly ran across this at the local free book store.

The editor doesn't provide much context for the stories he collects, but by putting them together invites interesting comparisons. I would guess that the stories were selected because of the diverse ways in which they treat the subject matter, rather than in a
...more
Frank
Oct 03, 2010 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoy anthologies, and this was no exception. This book offers up a wide variety of short stories from different genres and time periods. Many of the authors I recognize and have read other works by them. One area I was disappointed was that many stories worked to preserve the stereotypical image of the librarian, instead of trying to show ways that the stereotype is broken. This is particularly frustrating since the compiler and editor is a librarian himself. Overall, it was enjoya ...more
stephanieisabookworm
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
So it obviously took me forever (in my terms at least) to finish this collection of short stories, even though I really wasn't reading much else (for fun) at the time. I can blame some of it on finals (sort of), but mostly I just don't like short stories that much and I always forget that. I generally liked most of these stories, and I really enjoyed a few of them, but I just don't get invested in collections of short stories like I do in novels, so it takes me longer to read them. But if you're ...more
Ellice
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this collection of stories, particularly those in the first half or so. There were quite a few typos, which were distracting, and many of the stories had a really stilted turn of phrasing, as if they were poorly translated from another language--or were really stereotypical in their depiction of librarians. The second half improved somewhat, with good stories from Ray Bradbury, Alice Munro, John Cheever, and others. Overall, some of the stories are gems, but others leave so ...more
Kay
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was so much fun - a collection of stories about libraries and librarians! Not surprisingly, it was a bit of a mixed bag. I didn't love everything - but there are some fantastic stories by some phenomenal writers here. There were some annoying copyediting lapses, but that's a quibble. There's even a mystery and a ghost story. Not to mention Mr. Ed!I also particularly enjoyed "The Summer Librarian." Looking forward to reading more of some of these authors' work.
Joshua Finnell
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Notables:

Italo Calvino - A General in the Library
Joanne Greenberg - Gloss on a Decision of the Council of Nicaea
Lorrie Moore - Community Life
Saki - The Story of St. Vespaluus

Disappointing:

Alice Munro - Hard-Luck Stories
Francine Prose - Rubber Life

Obligatory:

Jorge Luis Borges - The Library of Babel
(For some reason, this story is cited/included in every book about libraries I have ever read.)
Rev. Linda
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This one went on a trip with us, and I just found it in a suitcase that I used when I was in graduate school. Just had a bit more to finish up. It would probably be more relevant now that I am actually working in a library, but I recall finding the stories realistic and often, humorous. Among the stories are one by Ray Bradbury, by Alice Munro, and a really funny one titled "A General in the Library". Had a food receipt from Cracker Barrel which helped me with the date I began reading it.
Desiree
Apr 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
I didn't enjoy this one very much. Normally, I don't read short stories, but I figured that stories about libraries would be interesting as the library is one of my favorite places. However, there isn't a lot here about libraries or funny library stories.... Would not recommend...
Cottageunderhill
I had to stop reading this collection. The stories that I read, and I think I stopped at number five, were all depressing. I'm all for fighting the good fight but I wasn't emotionally invested enough to actually cry over these stories. Oh well...
Suzanne
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Every story was mostly about sad, depressed, or dusty and old-fashioned librarians. Only 2 stories really stood out as enjoyable- one by Ray Bradbury and a Mr. Ed story of all things. That one was actually pretty funny- much more subversive than the TV show probably was.
Christine
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An absolute gem of a book full of marvelous stories about libraries and librarians by the likes of Bradbury, LeGuinn,Calvino, Munro,Borges and others. This one's a keeper, to be re-read again and again.
Miriam
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
shoirt stories about libraries and librarians? how could i resist! if you are not a shrot story enthusiast, read this for the introduction. michael cart's introduction is worth the price of the book.
Ashley
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked this up when I was getting books about the library to teach for preschool. Some of the stories were really good; some were just okay; one I didn't like at all. Because I love libraries, I have worked in a library, and it reminded me of Ann-Marie, it was an interesting read.
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2015 Reading Chal...: In the Stacks edited by Michael Cart 2 9 May 27, 2015 10:32PM  

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Former Director of the Beverly Hills (CA) Public Library and a Past President of the Young Adult Library Services Association, Michael Cart is a nationally recognized expert in children's and young adult literature. Now a columnist and reviewer for ALA's Booklist magazine, he is the author or editor of eight books, including From Romance to Realism, a critical history of YA literature; MY FATHER'S ...more