Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Essay on Bibliography'

Booksellers and Bookselling

December 3rd, 2012 · Comments Off on Booksellers and Bookselling

Booksellers and Book sellling is a Library of Congress Subject Heading. If one does a subject search on said in ODYsseus (or Encore) one returns:

The holiday-shopping season metaexperience, reading about a small bookshop, while in a small book shop (or perhaps our Josephine Young Room).  If one accepts the thesis that buying books is not buying socks (or downloading apps), that it is something more expressive, more resonant of the real, then reading about books being bought and sold should have some measure of Emersonian sincerity.  Reading about book selling as a way to step out of all that is tinsel and trouble about holiday shopping? Couldn’t hurt to find one of these titles, a chair in the Josephine Young Room, and find out…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

On Bookstores, Shakespeare and Company

November 26th, 2012 · Comments Off on On Bookstores, Shakespeare and Company

…with the holiday’s upon us it seems like a good moment to contemplate bookstores. Independent bookstores.  They are, of course, cousins to libraries, and when they work they exhibit a purpose and collection that functions much as one hopes a library works in a given locale.  Much of the reading one might do in the news on bookstores and their fate would be pretty grim going…tales of closures and “creative destruction.”  However, there is a literature connected about bookstores that speaks to the higher calling therein.  Some Monday morning reading in the Sewanee Review (Fall 2012 issue) and I came across a captivating piece by Seymour I. Toll, “Shakespeare on the Left Bank.” It is a recounting of Sylvia Beach and her Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company.  Toll’s essay not only details Beach’s involvement with the Hemingway, and Joyce, and other modern writers who frequented her shop, he writes about the bookstore as a bookstore–important in that one can accurately say that Shakespeare and Company perhaps holds a status of the Camelot of bookstores, the once and future king…

…more on bookstores anon.  In our collection we have Sylvia Beach’s memoir Shakespeare and Company, and a collection of her letters, 2012, Columbia UP, edited by Keri Walsh.

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Recommended Book

Privacy and Personal Libraries

November 19th, 2012 · Comments Off on Privacy and Personal Libraries

Under the heading of “this just in,” at MobyLives Ellie Robins has published Your Reading Behavior Is Being Monitored describing the extent to which the major purveyors of electronic books track the habits of readers. It turns out they not only monitor the titles people select, but what exactly is read within a given titles…there is apparently a company that fancies it can sell this kind of technology to universities to track and chart student behavior.   While the article points out that railing against this kind of invasive digital undertaking is yelling at thunderstorms, it brings to mind an article featured on the FODYLL blog, Anthony Daniels’ I: Loss and Gain and The Fate of the Book.   In this particular essay, Daniels ponders the fate of his library after his death:

My library, for the moment so solid and reliable, will dissolve after my death as surely as will my body. Some people claim that the knowledge that the atoms and molecules of which they are composed will survive to be absorbed into the wider world consoles them for the prospect of their death; and I, too, derived, until recently, some consolation from the fact that I am not really the owner of my books, but only the temporary guardian of them until they are passed on to the guardianship of someone else. It is true that when, in earlier years, I bought a book a quarter of a millennium old I looked at the names of the previous owners inscribed on its cover or title page and thought, “Now, at last, the book has found its true owner, its final resting place—me,” and pitied the previous owners for their failure to understand this, and for their ignorance of the book’s final destiny. But now I am more inclined to recall that I have owned the book for thirty years; in another thirty years it will be owned, or looked after, by someone else of whose identity I know nothing, and he will suffer from precisely my delusion and that of all previous owners.

The power of the image here is how a library blends both possession and anonymity.  In collecting these books and amassing this embodiment of his personality, Daniels has to acknowledge that they will not follow him, and will even have lives beyond his possession of them.  By their nature, too, the books also will betray nothing about him, whereas the ethereal e-book will keep a record of your every read long after your gone.  The collection of physical books is possession as person and in being dismantled (the person gone) beings a new unacknowledged legacies.   There is nature in this, there is peace.

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Yikes!


November 12th, 2012 · Comments Off on Epigrams

At the Poetry Magazine website Vera Pavlova has published a page of her epigrams about poetry.  Two of my favorites:

  • My diaries are letters from my former self to my future self. My poems are replies to those letters.
  • An ideal poem: every line of it can serve as a title for a book.

Epigrams are compasses, ways to navigate the investigations (large and small) that one is about.  We have collections of epigrams from humorous to Hasidic, from Greek to Roman, from John Donne to Fredrich Nietzsche to microfilmed.  An Encore Search on epigram will do it…


Tags: Essay on Bibliography

Autumnal Reading, Rereading

October 15th, 2012 · Comments Off on Autumnal Reading, Rereading

…sampling (again!) Patricia Meyer Spacks book On Rereading and came upon this lovely phrase in her chapter “The Pleasure Principal,””Both the surprises and the other gratifications of rereading typically come in bits and pieces: not grand new interpretations so often as glimpses of possibility” (129).  This speaks I think to the inherent optimism of sustained reading (that is reading books versus the reading news-seeking asks us to do).  When we embark to read we embark–there are expectations, there are hope, and these are realized (or no).  “Glimpses of possibility” speaks wonderfully to how reading is self-revelation, and how quickly and fleetingly that comes. Though this is extended reading–this is throw yourself in the book reading, this is trusting yourself to read.




Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Recommended Book

Reading Jack Kerouac in September

September 21st, 2012 · Comments Off on Reading Jack Kerouac in September

…the Library of Congress is set to release an edition of the complete poems of Jack Kerouac (as part of the Library of America series).  The Library of American blog is feature an interview with Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell about Kerouac, and about his eternal appeal.  Thinking back on being young, and thinking back on reading, it is hard to think of something more engaging than reading Kerouac in September…that month that for students is all about all anew.  First year students reading Kerouac as they grapple with all on and between the greenswalds of college.  Something to ponder. While we don’t have this book yet (we will), we have extensive holdings in Kerouac.

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

Blogging Anew in Autumn Redux

September 10th, 2012 · Comments Off on Blogging Anew in Autumn Redux

…ah the warm (perhaps overly warm-near-drought) pleasures of summer were more than my blogging-patience could overcome, but with the academic year anew, blogging resumes.  I’d like to draw attention to two pieces that I happened upon (water strider like) this summer.  The first is a short piece by Neil Wagner on how reading can change the reader, and is that perhaps not the noblest goal for reading? The second essay is “The Slowest Reader” by Benjamin Percy and is an homage to reading slowly, to savoring words.  While college presents itself in so many ways as a harried time, a time of late nights and much assigned, shouldn’t time-stands-still-by-the-desk-lit-bright-page rereading be college?  Be the comment of change?  Read the essay slowly and decide…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

From Modern Ruin, A Library

July 9th, 2012 · Comments Off on From Modern Ruin, A Library

…the headline in this Huffington Post piece says it all: Walmart Abandoned In Texas Renovated Into Chic New McAllen Public Library. Be sure to view the slide show…

Tags: Essay on Bibliography

Why Old Books Smell

April 18th, 2012 · Comments Off on Why Old Books Smell

…the actual chemistry behind the intoxicating aroma of old books is explicated in an Atlantic Magazine video. In this space we’ve chronicled writers like John Updike, and Sven Birkerts, and William Hazlitt, and Anne Fadiman on the physicality of books and what that means to the reading experience…graceful and persuasive writers all now seasoned and served with a little science…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

Thoughts on the Thesaurus

April 2nd, 2012 · Comments Off on Thoughts on the Thesaurus

…a lengthy essay/contemplation on the thesaurus written by Peter Mark Roget. When was the last time you thought about a thesaurus?  Apparently the original Roget thought creating one to be a exercise in spirituality, an exercise in bringing order to the universe.  Of course while thesaurus-speak can be justifiably sneered at, good Saxon based synonyms for management speak might be a reason to keep a thesaurus on the shelves (cyber or otherwise).  Read Roget’s piece and decide…

Tags: Essay on Bibliography · The Academic Internet

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