Sunday, June 24, 2012

This Week at the Library (24 June)


To some, the summertime may be a period of activity. In the deep south, however, being out and about from June to August will send you to the hospital. Summer is a time for sitting on the porch sipping lemonade and fanning yourself, because it's too hot to do anything else: temperatures stay into the 90s until after nine at night. I stayed active throughout the winter, but this summer heat just makes me wilt. So I adapt by waking up earlier and spending the late afternoon resting, not walking.  That leaves more time for reading.

When it comes to books, I'm a big eater: I'll wolf one down, but I sometimes wonder if I'm not diminishing my experience by approaching them so ravenously. In the last couple of weeks I have practiced deliberation, turning the occasional practice of writing down particular quotations and facts in my journal into a regular habit. The idea is to create further opportunity for reflection.  I've also been using the journal to write down books I hear about which sound interesting, which only  intensifies my ambitions: there are so many books out there, so many ideas to be considered and connected together! Just the other night I fell into a veritable gold mine of books using Amazon's "related titles" section: two titles in the pit were Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and  Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before, by Jean Twenge.

Both at the library and in my personal reading, I'm gearing up for the Fourth of July. My personal reading for the occasion will be The Good Citizen, a collection of essays on the meaning of citizenship; Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis; and possibly Our Sacred Honor: Words of Advice from the Founders in Stories, Letters, Poems, and Speeches, an anthology prepared by William J. Bennett.  I have two displays planned to put out this week: a dozen or so titles on the American Revolution, the war, and the early constitutional period, and a larger one devoted to the United States in general. Most of it will be feel-good stuff: the Fourth is a celebratory occasion, after all, and  my theme for the last month has been on environmentalism, ecology, politics, and the future. It's tended to be a little grim, so I'm looking forward to the lighter mood to come. Once the display is up I'll post some of the more interesting titles here.  The small display will be replacing my "See the Stars" astronomical display, which I put up mostly to attract interest in the transit of Venus. As it turns out, the day of the transit was marked here by overcast skies.

Finally, at some point in the last week or so, an update from blogger reset my labels gadgets so that no labels were selected to appear in the drop-down menus. I thought the code might need updating, but it turned out to be a simple matter of my simply needing to re-select the various labels for the appropriate list. I don't know if the problem is entirely resolved, as Books by Category keeps disappearing. I wonder if perhaps I have too many labels.

Pending reviews: The Great, Good Place by Roy Oldenburg, and Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in the 1950s by Laura Shapiro.

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