Dinner with friends is dangerous

Last night I had dinner with a friend from work. She and I share an obsession with a love of books, and before we left for dinner I helped her repair one of her treasured paperbacks (the cover was in sad, sad shape).

During dinner, somehow the topic of marginalia came up. She reached over to the now-repaired paperback, intending to show me something she'd written recently. Innocently, she said, "you know that bit in The Odyssey where..." and I interrupted to admit, "uh, never read it".

Shock! Horror! We know I'm illiterate, so there.

"Will you read it with me?"

"Uh, well... I'd love to but I have these 48 books left to read from ALA Midwinter before ALA Annual and..."

"Nonsense. ALA's in July, right? You'll have those 48 read in two weekends. You're reading this with me."


So I'm reading (in addition to what's on Mt. Bookpile) The Odyssey. Gulp.


Hush your mouth

My big Oscar experiment left me feeling slightly odd, and exposed. Exposed how, you ask (ok, pretend you asked)? For years, Thing One and I have watched TV and done the MST3K thing, entre nous of course. Tweeting the Oscars let some of that out. Now, I think our conversations are funny - as does Thing One. That's a given. So does it matter if our snark, our asides, our comments make their way out into the great wide world?

Probably not. It still feels odd, and I think the Great Twitter Experiment may be about to end.

Particularly after reading Roger Ebert's Hunting of the Snark...

Links Galore


Reading... reading...

How many of you have seen the BBC Top 100 Books list? It's become quite the meme, found everywhere on Facebook and on blogs. There are problems with the list, none the least of which is the inclusion of both "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" and "Hamlet". Of course, any list compiled by survey is going to raise eyebrows and create problems.

Then there's The Western Canon, the 1,000 books you Must Read, and any number of other lists of great books, decided by various people based on various criteria.

Terry pointed out The Elegant Variation's comments on James Wood's take on the Western Canon.

My thoughts? If I look at all these lists, I get overwhelmed - I feel as though I don't read anything, as though I'm nearly illiterate. Nonsense, you say? Well, it's true... by their standards. Yes, I read more YA literature, more genre fiction, and fewer "quality" books than I might if I weren't working as a school librarian. Or I might not.

Letting lists like this define my fiction intake? A mental clutter habit I need to break. On the other hand, these lists do make for fun reading...



What does it mean to be a friend?

I've been having fun with Facebook, reconnecting with "lost" friends and finding new ways to connect to people that have been in my life recently. One area of my life that is now surfacing (or resurfacing, to be more accurate) is the time I spent in Smalltown NY. These were not my happiest years, and I have deliberately tried to forget that time and people I knew then.

Of course, it's difficult when your parents are friends with the parents of people that you knew and they mention that "I saw ___" recently.

The other day, during one of those conversations, I decided to look for one of those people... which led to finding the boy-across-the-street... and then to another guy I knew. I felt fine with that. Today, though, came a request from someone I don't remember. Not even a little. I have no idea if she remembers me, or if she's asked because I'm friends with the other three. And I have no idea whether I should accept her overture, or not.

Then there are those that I connected with but who don't respond to messages. They don't appear to be active on FB either, so I wonder - is it ok to "unfriend" them? I'm not interested in being a friendwhore, I am interested in connections.



Links Galore


Notable Quotes

A snob, incidentally, I tell them, is interested in a person because they are of high class. An elitist is interested in a person because they are interesting. That's the difference


Whither solitude?

On the SpareOom elist, someone pointed to this article, The End of Solitide.
What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge — broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider — the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves — by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility.
I've been pondering solitude... visibility... invisibility...

My Twitter, Facebook, Storytlr, FriendFeed, blogs and e-mail accounts all keep me visible and connected. But with whom? To what end? What would happen if I shut them off? Would that make me less of a person? Would I cease to exist in the eyes of the outside world? I think back to the "days of old" (less than a decade ago) when I had none of these outlets, none of these connections. Solitude wasn't scary (it isn't now), nor was a lack of constant connection to people and ideas.

Sometimes I question why I'm feeling the need to engage with these so-called tools, to expose things I think/feel/notice to the outside world. Am I befriending people on Facebook because I honestly want to connect (or reconnect, as in the case of one person that lived across the street from me during my childhood)? Am I tweeting because I think my thoughts are that important or that anyone cares? Do my blog posts satisfy any needs greater than those that could be satisfied by bookmarking links, keeping a reading diary and creating a journal?

No answers yet...

ETA: Monica's blogging about the same thing!


Things my mother was right about (in the past 24 hours)

Sometimes, mother really does know best. For example:
  • It wasn't very smart to not have chicken soup and saltines stockpiled (although I do get points for the ginger ale)
  • I really should listen to my stomach and not my tastebuds when feeling naseaus
  • When you're sick, ice cream = medicine. But only if it's vanilla
  • If you're really sick, add ginger ale to the ice cream.
  • A "fever" of 97.1 does not mean you're dying.
  • I will feel better in the morning.
  • Don't rush things.
Thanks mom!


Links Galore



Following Up

A couple of updates for those following the blog faithfully:

    Ellysa, the E-Techer, has posted her responses to my interview. Money quote? I suppose my current philosophy is that libraries and librarians must embrace and anticipate constant change and continual collaboration with partners located outside of our physical walls.
    (there's still time for you to be a lucky interveiwee - just let me know!)

    Neil Gaiman's winning the Newbery has gotten to Stephen Colbert

I think that's it... for now.


The Antidote Meme

(þ : Irene of Fractured Friendships)

Type only ONE word answers

It's harder than you think!! Here is what you are supposed to do...and please don't spoil the fun...copy and paste into your own note, type in your answers and tag a bunch of people - including me.

Where is your cell phone?....purse
Your hair? ..........unwashed
Your father? ........ home
Your favorite thing? ..........reading
Your dream last night?....forgotten
Your favorite drink? ........... Apple cider
Your dream/goal? ........... innerpeace
The room you are in? ...... bedroom
Your fear? ......... dying alone
Where do you want to be in 6 years?..... home
Muffins? .............blueberry
One of your wish list items?.......... happiness
Where you grew up? ...........Upstate
The last thing you did? .......read
What are you wearing?....... suit
Your TV?...........works
Your pets? ..........multiplying
Your computer? ...... laptop
Your life? .........overscheduled
Your mood? ......... tense
Missing someone? ....... Howard
Your car? .... garaged
Favorite store?..... bookstore
Your summer? ..... short
Your favorite color? .........silver
When is the last time you laughed? ......today
Last time you cried? ....... last week
Three people who email me? ........... Thing One, Monica, my parents
Three of my favorite foods? ......... apples, pizza, custards
Three places I would rather be right now? ..... Montreal, Paris, Edinburgh

Self-tag if you want!