One of our duties here at Austin Public Library is to cull old books. We call it "weeding". We do it continuously, just as new books are published continuously, because if we didn't, we wouldn't be able to fit the new books on the shelves. If we didn't weed, we'd still have astronomy books, for example, that say the sun goes around the earth, that dragons lurk in the skies at the edges of the oceans, that Pluto is a PLANET!
The city opened late again today. That’s the fourth ice day this year. Is the globe warming and making the weather weird? Is the weather weird? How come we’re cold if we’re warming up? Won’t warming up improve things? I mean, everybody wants to vacation in the Bahamas, don’t they? Don’t plants grow better when it’s warm? Won’t farmers have year after year of double bumper crops? Wouldn’t the birds appreciate not having to migrate every year? They could stay where they are; it’ll be warm. Wouldn’t long, warm summers mean bug smorgasbords for the bats?
Do you think these are good questions? These books might change your mind:
Stuck for a Valentine’s Day gift idea? Here’s something guaranteed to earn you points with your sweetheart. The first person to call the downtown library at 512-974-7400 option 1, and ask for the Romance Package can reserve a nice Valentine bag with a lovely new copy of Pride and Prejudice and a DVD of the Keira Knightley movie, with a Valentine card and forget-me-nots. Please note: You must pick up the bag at the Faulk Central Library. The DVD and book are library materials that you will check out and need to return to the library, but the card and forget-me-nots are yours to keep!
Three really good showbiz memoirs I know of now, all of them about getting famous, not so much about being famous. The most recent is A Story Lately Told by Anjelica Huston. (The other two are Moss Hart’s Act One and Just Kids by Patti Smith.)
It’s Christmas and we have Charles Dickens to thank (or blame, if it comes to that) for the Victorian manner in which we strive to celebrate it; so appropriately we’re being offered two new Dickens movies this season. I haven’t seen either of them; the scant information I have is based on their trailers: one is a new version of Great Expectations that looks like it takes itself very very seriously, and the second is a biography of Dickens that focuses on his May-December romance with Ellen Ternan. Both movies employ Ralph Fiennes.
Last Saturday afternoon I spent three hours behind a table in tent #3 in the middle of Colorado Street on the west side of the Texas Capitol telling book festival attendees about Austin Public Library. Right up until 5 o'clock, when we packed up, a constant stream of people laden with bags of books and souvenirs walked by, the stream swelling to a torrent when an event ended and the audience cleared out and came through.
Have you noticed the desert landscapes going in all over town in response to the drought? We put desert in our front yard last year. We landscaped with Indian fig (prickly pear without the prickles), feather grass, and crushed granite. Our yard looks like an unkempt Taco Cabana. And when I saw the weeds coming up through the gravel, I realized that putting the Arizona desert in my yard is almost as strange as installing the rolling lawn of an English country estate. Neither is right for Central Texas.
I’m getting to the end of Stephen King’s latest, Doctor Sleep, which takes up with Danny Torrance long after the ashes of the Overlook have cooled, and I thought for the blog today I’d make a timeline of the settings of King’s books; you know, Carrie takes place in the early 1970s, so let’s draw a red line from, say, 1972-3, the time during which the story is set. After Carrie, let’s jump ahead to 11/22/63 because that’s really jumping back: most of that book takes place in the 50s, so a red line (all the lines just have to be red, don’t you think?) from 1954 to near the present, skipping over the Carrie years… It’s already starting to get complicated.