Lisa's Reviews > The Library Diaries

The Library Diaries by Ann Miketa
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2010, libraryesque, meta-fiction, would-not-recommend

** spoiler alert ** Mr. Three Hats is not Native American as you may have assumed by his name."

And so sets up the foundation for this "book."

As a newly minted librarian, I occasionally stalk WorldCat, LibraryThing, GoodReads and Amazon for new or interesting materials written by, for or featuring librarians. This book was so badly reviewed on LibraryThing and on Amazon, that while I knew I should have known better before getting it via ILL, I still ordered it anyways. Because it can't be that bad, right?

Wrong.

First, this book is self-published by PublishAmerica. Self-publishing in itself is a wonderful thing. I'm a huge fan of crowdsourcing and open source publishing models, such as Lulu.com. However, self-publishing definitely becomes a negative when the author, whose spent hundreds if not thousands via PublishAmerica getting their masterpiece into print form, do not engage an editor! Seriously! There are so many typos, inconsistencies, subject-verb disagreements that I wondered if this person even bothered to read what they wrote themselves. One trick one of my undergrad profs taught us in our intro to creative writing class is to read your work out loud. Slowly. As humans, we are all definitely fallible when it comes to writing in regards to grammar and consistency since our brains process much faster than our fingers. There is your protip for the day.

Secondly, the weird topic jump within single paragraphs was beyond annoying. She would begin the paragraph on subject X, suddenly verve to subject Y and then rant and rave for pages espousing her opinion on why the people of this town were illiterate, inbred, shiftless, lazy, public service sucking humans.

Thirdly, style. This ties into point the first with the lack of editor. She would drop in and out of time period, technology, and culture inconsistencies. For example, the book is apparently "written" by the author's sister who worked at the public library in Denialville, MI and then BOOM, died of lung cancer. The sister's greatest wish evah was to have her beloved book published. The problem with this premise is that in the introduction, the book leads the reader to believe that the sister has been dead for some time but the "sister" talks about technology and current events of the now. So apparently her sister is a time traveler?

Fourthly, the bigotry of the author. On anyone that is not her (white, "upper middle class", educated). Literally. Wow. Hate much? Here are some prime examples:

"Mr. Thee Hats is not Native American as you may have assumed by his name."
"Personally, I cannot imagine why any one [note separation of words here] without a high school diploma would begin to think she or he had what it took to raise a child properly."
"Maybe having sex shouldn't be so easy since so many poor, ignorant people are having it worth any birth control."
"I know, to a lot of you, this sounds like eugenics. I have to wonder if those of you against eugenics are aware of the human suffering brought about by poor planning."

When the book was published in 2008, there was a huge hubbub about the author getting fired from the library she worked over the content in said masterpiece. The reasoning is that it is not so much that she published a book, but that her "fictionalizing" of the patrons in the book were actually fairly identifying characteristics of actual living persons. The author, whose pen name is a pseudonym and the premise (sister dying of lung cancer who originally wrote the book) was false, was discovered because she used images on her book cover the library she worked at as well as she aptly describes specific events and activities that are only available in that geographic area. According to other reports, she also bragged about the publication of the book to everyone and sundry. These are all smart moves if you're writing under a pseudonym and attempting to keep your actual identity on the downlow.

One should also keep in mind that librarians and those who work in libraries prescribe to a code of ethics and professionalism, which Miketa completely tossed out the window in the name of her "writing." I think that part bothers me more than the awful writing and editing.

Why you should read this book? I cannot think of a single identifying reason, in any instance, why I would recommend this title EXCEPT for a perfect example of how NOT to self-publish.

If you're looking for vignettes about working in libraries, check out the often updated and constantly hilarious LiveJournal community, The Society for Librarians Who Say M-F (http://community.livejournal.com/libr...).

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 29, 2010 – Finished Reading
November 6, 2010 – Shelved
November 6, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010
November 6, 2010 – Shelved as: libraryesque
November 6, 2010 – Shelved as: meta-fiction
July 15, 2012 – Shelved as: would-not-recommend

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Tyff (new)

Tyff LOL I added a profile here just to comment on your review LMFAO and ROFL awesome!
T


message 2: by ~M~ (new)

~M~ Wow. Was this book supposed to be fiction? Was the protagonist supposed to be a complete tool???? It sounds just horrible!


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