Monthly Archives: May 2013

Free Books Explained

Knowledge!

No really, they are free

The Scenario

Several weeks ago, a cart of free books appeared on the lower level of the Calarco library. Frequenters of the space would peruse the selection, grab some choice items, and continue on with their days. As time passed, the word spread and the newbies began to appear – sometimes solo, often in pairs. They would whisper furtively to each other (or to themselves, which was weird), sneaking hurried glances at the nearest librarian as they discreetly slipped books into backpacks and tote bags. Just as the Hopkins community breathed a sigh of relief – only the worst of the worst books were left  – we clever librarians cycled out the rejects and stocked the cart with a fresh batch of alluring volumes.

The anticipation grew, and we observed as students, faculty and staff once again put themselves through the stress and anxiety of trying to “steal” library books.

And we laughed. We chuckled. We snickered to each other. We pointed and guffawed, “Look at them! They think they are doing something wrong – how endearing!”

The Explanation

Where there is a school, there are books. Lots and lots of books. While our love for books is boundless, the shelves are not. The enclosed space of the Calarco Library has limits, and so do the enclosed walls of a Library Department meeting. Last year, we would sigh as we sifted through books 12 copies of The Complete Collection of Mark Twain or The Future of Soviet-U.S. Relations ©1972. We would walk through the library and find each other buried under books that had fallen off the overburdened shelves. As I extracted Mrs. Dubois from a pile of Microsoft Word for Dummies ©1994 and Recent Advances in Genetics ©1998, she furiously declared that she could not even find a copy of Hogwarts: A History, by Bathilda Bagshot.

In that moment, two things became clear:

  1. Mrs. Dubois needed to see a doctor, and
  2. The library desperately needed to undergo spring cleaning

It was decreed during a Library Department meeting that the weeding of books, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes (yea…), etc. would henceforth commence ASAP, ending only when the dust settled and victor had been declared.

There can only be one victor. And it will be us – the librarians.

Treat yourself to the spoils of a hard-fought war and visit the library to explore the latest free books. We will be offering even more to the Hopkins community before the school year is over, so keep an eye out for more “FREE BOOKS!” announcements.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Good luck you, young soldiers. We wish you courage and bravery as you build your own home libraries, and we offer only one piece of advice to those who must commence their own book purge.

Be bold. Be merciless. And take no prisoners.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who amid dust, debris, and loose pages, waves fists in victory as she runs through the liberated shelves)

Summer Reading Preview

With summer fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about what to do with all that free time. Maybe learn Spanish. Hike the Appalachian Trail. Paint a sunset.

Nah, just kidding.  I”m going to read.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I want to feel intellectual:

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Mr. Peters read this months ago, and I want to be like him.  The story of Alexander Dumas’s father, the son of a count and a slave who fought under Napoleon.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

I think any book that can be described with the keywords “war” and “satire” will inevitably be compared to Catch-22. Then again, I really liked Catch-22. The Iraq War, football, and incredibly persistent media coverage/promotion.

Jane Austen: The Complete Collection

I read Pride and Prejudice for  Wit and Wisdom lo these many years ago and loved it. That I’ve never read any other Austen novels is potential Read of Shame territory.

That is not to say that I will be reading ALL of her novels. At least, not this summer.

When I can’t access my Steam account:

Ready Player Oneby Ernest Cline

I got halfway through this a few months ago, put it down, and never went back to it.  Time to pick it back up, because it’s fun (and if you can’t play games, you can at least read about them).  A treasure hunt through an MMO/Second Life hybrid, guided by 80’s trivia (with a dash of dystopia thrown in for good measure).

Scott Pilgrim, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Also sitting on my shelf at home, waiting for me to finish it.  Slacker and musician must defeat love interest’s seven evil exes to get a date.

When I need to know whodunit:

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Libba Bray has been hit or miss for me. Beauty Queens was one of the best books I read last year, and  The Diviners has received some great reviews  – but then, so did  Going Bovinewhich I couldn’t get into at all.

A Simple Murder, by Eleanor Kuhns

Historical mysteries: my great weakness (along with zombie stories with good world-building, droll protagonists, and gummy bears). And I’ve been craving a good mystery (other than “where did all the textbooks go?”).

Aaaaaand a whole stack of others. What’s on your list? Any books you’re particularly looking forward to reading once you have the <gasp!> time?

-Signing off, Kit Gette (Yay books! Yay summer!)