Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Excited About This Book


In recent months I've cut the number of books I accept for review dramatically. When Greyson gets here, I'll be lucky to read ANYTHING, and I certainly won't want to be obligated, so I'm only accepting review books that I can read quickly and have reviews posted in a timely manner (ha!). When Harper offered their latest list of goodies, I snapped up This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, by Marilyn Johnson. How could I resist 1) the cover 2) the premise?

Blurb from Publisher's Weekly: In an information age full of Google-powered searches, free-by-Bittorrent media downloads and Wiki-powered knowledge databases, the librarian may seem like an antiquated concept. Author and editor Johnson (The Dead Beat) is here to reverse that notion with a topical, witty study of the vital ways modern librarians uphold their traditional roles as educators, archivists, and curators of a community legacy. Illuminating the state of the modern librarian with humor and authority, Johnson showcases librarians working on the cutting edge of virtual reality simulations, guarding the Constitution and redefining information services-as well as working hard to serve and satisfy readers, making this volume a bit guilty of long-form reader flattery. Johnson also makes the important case for libraries-the brick-and-mortar kind-as an irreplaceable bridge crossing economic community divides. Johnson's wry report is a must-read for anyone who's used a library in the past quarter century.

I don't usually "sneak peek" books before I actually review them (unless I bought them myself), but I just can't wait to dive into this selection! Marilyn Johnson's previous work, The Dead Beat, sounds fascinating, too. The subtitle is "Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries." What's not to like about that?? Right off the bat, with odd subjects and catchy titles like these, I'm having flashbacks to my enjoyment of Mary Roach's work (Stiff, Bonk). While she was somewhat hit and miss in books like Spook, I still perk up whenever I see that she has something new up for publication.

In short, I don't know if this book will delight me just yet, but it's one of the titles I'm craving and anticipating the most right now. As a library school dropout (yeah, I never went back), this one certainly appeals to that side of my character and career. To this very day, when I'm teaching my English courses, I tell my students, "Librarians are ninjas. Respect their skills because they will inevitably help you find information you never dreamed could be found."

Stay tuned! I'll be gobbling this one up post haste! Anyone read one or both already?

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