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so ask already!!! > books about libraries and librarians?

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message 1: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments I would like to read some books about libraries, librarians or book lovers, in general. It doesn't have to be any particular genre and it could be for kids. Can we compile a top 10? I just read Niffenegger's The Night Bookmobile and liked it a lot. So something along those lines. It doesn't have to be illustrated, but that is an added bonus.

message 2: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
is nonfiction okay, suze?

message 3: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments Sure, why not.

message 4: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
this is one of my favorites The Library at Night. it is chock full of essays about libraries and book lovers and it is totally readable and heart-stirring for true booklovers.

also this one A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books - oh my god - this is like my book-boyfriend! it is all about book thieves and book collectors and other book lunatics.

both of these books are top notch books for people like us.

message 5: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments I just realized that Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is another book that would be good. I think I might have to reread my old copy.

message 6: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (rizeandshine) I haven't read this one yet but it is on my to-read list and looks interesting:

In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians

There's one book that I really love that does not involve a typical library, but a secret book depository of sorts called the "Cemetery of Forgotten Books".

The Shadow of the Wind

If you like cats, here is a cute story about a small town library and its furry friend.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

message 7: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments I really like the literary theory by Umberto Eco he has one essay that talks about why it's important to own more books you haven't read than books you've read, and one that is a bunch of fake book reviews.

there is The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Are So Important in a Distracted Time which is about the difference between the more modern reading and books, and why books are important.

Buried in Books is a book of quotes about books and reading.

message 8: by Jasmine (new)

message 10: by Jen (new)

Jen | 3 comments How about The Giant's House: A Romance? I really enjoyed it..even though I'm not typically drawn to romances.

message 11: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
The Grand Complication: A Novel- this one is about a librarian, and i remember the opening parts that actually took place in the library were hilarious and wonderful. but then the story leaves the library, for the most part, and it is still a great read, but if your needs are just library-bits, at least read the beginning...

message 12: by Greg (new)

Greg | 117 comments karen wrote: "The Grand Complication: A Novel- this one is about a librarian, and i remember the opening parts that actually took place in the library were hilarious and wonderful. but then the sto..."

I kept meaning to add this one here. There are some great scenes of games between librarians and pages competing in dorky Dewey Decimal challenges, and there are library cart races!! All taking place in the NYPL on Fifth Ave.

message 13: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments I can't believe that I'm answering my own question, but I found the book The Bad Book Affair: A Mobile Library Mystery lying by it's lonesome shelf the other day at the library and just had to pick it up. It's about a "north London Jewish vegetarian liberal freethinker" librarian who solves crimes while he drives a mobile library van around Ireland!!! I've just started it, but I've already skimmed a lot of the passages that involve books and they are just delightful. It seems perfect for someone who would perhaps wan the combinations of a librarian, mystery, and book-lovingness. I'll try to update later once I get around to finishing it.

message 14: by Larry (new)

Larry Bassett Running the Books is a fascinating memoir about a man who is in charge of a prison library.

message 15: by Wendy Darling (new)

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 20 comments The Thirteenth Tale is a good one for bibliophiles. The language is beautiful, too, and it's very gothic.

message 16: by Shanshad (new)

Shanshad Whelan | 15 comments I really enjoyed The City of Dreaming Books which is a wildly fantastical idea of books, readers and writers in a city built around them. It's heavy on the fantasy elements though.

I love fantasy books that feature libraries and librarians. Though perhaps my favorite librarian is one that says Oook! and can navigate L-Space through the multiverse. ^_^

message 17: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments Susie wrote: "I would like to read some books about libraries, librarians or book lovers, in general. It doesn't have to be any particular genre and it could be for kids. Can we compile a top 10? I just read N..."
this new book from akashic looks good

The Dewey Decimal System: A Novel
and this yaish one too looks good The Grimm Legacy
and a sci fi from tor Canticle
and yes anotehr ya Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones
and these short stories about college librarians and SEX is not bad Bibliophilia: A Novella and Stories
and many of the others recommended here are very good (though i hated Sansom's) but the very best novel about libraries i've read in a while is "the incident report" from Pedlar Press The Incident Report, it's melancholy, funny, sexy, true-to-life (well, librarians' lives anyway :)) to sum up, from" “tales of the out and gone” by amiri baraka 2007

pg 79
A few nights a week, Johns worked as the evening librarian; and the old career special-services librarian, seeing Ray was a book nut, let him have the run of the place, including being in charge of ordering books and records. So a few nights a week, Ray, Laffy, and the rest of the crowd would ease into the library, draw the blinds, break out the cheap rum and vodka, and play music most of the night—in both luxury and captivity at the same time."

Tales of the Out and the Gone

message 18: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments hokay, i can't resist, here are a few more quotes from books that mention libs:
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006
Writing Los Angeles: A Literary AnthologySwansea Terminal

From “Best American Non-required Reading 2006”
Matt Groening’s introduction, Dave Eggers, editor

“Late at night, when all sober people are asleep, I'm probably slouching in
bed, all Tivo'd out, reading something like The Insanity of Normality, by Arno
Gruen. Or a P. G. Wodehouse novel. Or another Isaac Bashevis Singer short
story in the three-volume Library of America edition. Or maybe I'm squinting
at the latest Acme Novelty Library comic book by Chris Ware. Whatever it is,
the next morning I'm another bleary guy with dark circles under his eyes
muttering about being late for work in the back of the line at Starbucks.
I'm also the guy not dancing at the happening party on Saturday
night. Instead, I've scuttled over to the corner of the den with my head tilted,
running my eyes down each shelf of books, looking for titles I've never heard
of. Back at home, my dining room table is so stacked with books and
magazines and newspapers and scripts and storyboards and comics and
mail-order catalogs that I'm forced to tap out this little introduction on my
kitchen table, which right now has on it — lemme count — four books, two
daily papers, and the latest issue of the New York Times Book Review. My
bathroom has a couple dozen books next to the toilet, and my bedroom is
piled so high with books that I fear it's erotic only to me.
Sometimes I think I have a slight problem. Then I remember most
of my friends are also readingly obsessed. It's a struggle for our kind to send
flowers on Valentine's Day instead of a book. We think all librarians are hot.
When we read one of those newspaper articles about some mad old coot
found dead in his apartment, crushed by thousands of books, we think to
ourselves, How romantic. We not only slow down at every used-book store,
we slam on the brakes and make illegal U-turns. We haunt those musty old
stores so often that sometimes we run into actual copies of books we once
owned, and greet them like long-lost pets.”

From “Offside” by Manuel Vazquez Montalban
Pg. 3

The kindly but nosy boarding house owner Dona Concha asks her prostitute friend how she gets customers:
“What do you say to them child?”
“I ask them if they want a literary screw”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Something out of the ordinary. I know what it means”
“But how are they supposed to know, child. They’re all up from the country, or off building sites. From Matadepera, and Santa Coloma. The way you say it makes it sound as if you learnt your trade in a library.”

From an excerpt of “Ask the Dust” by John Fante, from the anthology “writing Los Angeles” edited by David Ulin

“Los Angeles, give me some of you! Los Angeles come to me the way I came to you, my feet over your streets, you pretty town I loved you so much, you sad flower in the sand, you pretty town.
A day and another day and the day before, and the library with the big boys on the shelves, old Dreiser, old Mencken, all the boys down there, and I went to see them, Hya Dreiser, Hya Mencken, Hya, hya; there’s a place for me, too, and it begins with B, in the B shelf, Arturo Bandini, make way for Arturo Bandini, his slot for his book, and I sat at the table and just looked at the place where my book would be, right there close to Arnold Bennett; not much that Arnold Bennett, but I’d be there to sort of bolster up the B’s, old Arturo Bandini, one of the boys, until some girl came along, some scent of perfume through the fiction room, some click of high heels to break up the monotony of my fame. Gala day, gala dream!

From Swansea Terminal” by Robert Lewis pg 176

“Well, I said. “I need to have a look in the library”.
Neither of them moved an inch.
“I need a quick run to the library.” I said again.
“It’s only up the fucking road”, said Scotty. “What do you want in a fucking library anyway?”
“Why’d you care? It’s not you car. Come on, Chester. Let’s go to the library and then we’ll have that pint.”
“You owe three pound sixty from last week”, he said”, he said. “I gave it to you for the launderette”.
The what?” said Scotty laughing.
“Never mind”, I said, and paid up the princely sum, which had after all got me two pints in Wetherspoons, and more or less manhandled them out. “Let’s go.”
What I wanted in the library was a good look at the business directories for other parts of the country. I took some scrap paper from the box and a pen from one of the librarians and made a list of distributors who were far but not too far away: Liverpool, Reading, Swindon, places like that. While I was at it I grabbed the address of a tool hire company up in Cwmbwrla. When I had a dozen numbers I went out into the corridor and started to dial.
I needn’t have worried. The first on took it, an outfit from outside Reading.
“I’ve got a full warehouse,” I told the boss there, “an more coming in. Make sure you don’t turn up with less than the two hundred grand.”
Two hundred grand for every last drop of booze in the warehouse, and there’d be that new container coming into, cash for a lot, all up front. I’d lay on the transports, but if they could turn up with their own lorries they’d be saving themselves some bother, as long as they had a crane on one of them.
“Lorries?” he said. “Lorries plural? What’s wrong with a couple of return trips?”
See, what it was, like, I was running the business myself, see, and going bankrupt, hence the quick and illicit removal of assets before the receivers got them. I gave them the date and time and my new mobile phone number and told them it was now or never, and the main man down there said okay, and even gave me his home phone number.
“Three trucks be alright? Tell you what , I’ll make it four. We’ll be there.
Fine I said. Fine indeed. When I walked out I felt drunk again.
“This is a very nice library,” said Chester, when I found him, gazing at the metallurgy shelves in the reference room.
“Yeah”, I said, gazing up at the domed glass ceiling, the circular railed balcony, taking in the parquet and reading desks and the bronze busts. It was. I take it back, they did leave us with some bits of quality building, the Victorians. Empty bits of quality building, mostly. There was hardly anybody here."

message 19: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) | 126 comments Shanshad wrote: "I love fantasy books that feature libraries and librarians. Though perhaps my favorite librarian is one that says Oook! and can navigate L-Space through the multiverse. ^_^ "

What a coincidence, mine too!

Patricia wrote: "I haven't read this one yet but it is on my to-read list and looks interesting:

In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians

There's one book that I really love that does not invo..."

I found that collection hit or miss, but more hit.

message 20: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) I just wanted to say thank you for all these great suggestions. Some of which I've read. I'm new here & this is my first post . I'm looking for a librarian that says Oook! & navigates L-space. I'm thinking I may have to become her.

I've seen In the Stacks, but it just moved up my list!

message 21: by Rod (new)

Rod (baron_von_rodenheimer) | 19 comments Richard Brautigan's The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 takes place in a library that only houses unpublished works, and it doesn't lend them out, it only receives them.

Somebody else mentioned Umberto Eco; The Name of the Rose isn't necessarily about a library, but a library is certainly at the heart of it, and was the first thing that came to my mind.

message 22: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
did you look into any of these, miss susie?

message 23: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments Like I said in another thread, I'm really inundated by reading from school (I'm taking a reader's advisory class). Most of these books will have to be read in January when I have time to sit around, read, and drink some tea.

message 24: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i know! i was just mass-emailing - don't feel pressured by me - i am just trying to collect information!

message 25: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments I think I'm actually going to have to create a spread sheet of all of these book recommendations!!! Argh.

message 26: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) | 126 comments There's a reason I have over 2k books on my to-read shelf and 300+ shelves. Gotta love the group recs...

message 27: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
haahha sorry to complicate your life!

message 28: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments yes!!! complicated by literature, what could be worse?
well.... i guess some things could be worse Kelly Clarkson - Thankful by Kelly Clarkson

message 29: by Micha (new)

Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 64 comments Not sure if this is library friendly enough, because it is about book collectors and not librarians, but just in cases:

(Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Goldstone, Nancy Goldstone)

message 30: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) | 126 comments I just read You Don't Look Like a Librarian: Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age. The book itself is so-so, but it had a ton of books and other stuff I now feel compelled to add to my tbr and eventually seek out.

message 31: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) The Borrower is the adventure of an adult librarian and a young boy who only feels at home in the library.

The (loosely serial) comic strip Unshelved is available in book form, including the volume Reader's Advisory: An Unshelved Collection.

reading is my hustle (readingismyhustle) | 56 comments The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians :: Carla Morris

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians :: Brandon Sanderson

The Library :: Sarah Stewart

The Library Card :: Jerry Spinelli

Lucy Crocker 2.0 :: Caroline Preston

message 33: by Claire (new)

Claire (clairelynn) | 30 comments Just found a goodreads list: "Books about Librarians".

Might be worth taking a look at

message 34: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) thanks!

message 35: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments the paris review just came out with an article by avi steinberg (of "running the books" fame) where he looks at the new crop of library sex and or porn books. could be some titles here to read

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