Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stay Cool - the movie

I won't write a lot about this one for several reasons:

  1. James and I blogged about it on our Noni blog
  2. There is no actual librarian in the film, just a couple of scenes in the school library
  3. What is said about the library is disparaging and stereotypical
"The library is still a sanctuary for the socially challenged."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Adults - by Alison Espach

This satire follows the story of  Emily, who within the course of a year watches a neighbor commit suicide; experiences the divorce of her parents; becomes a sister to her father's love child; and embarks on an affair with one of her high school teachers. The on-again-off-again relationship with "Mr. Basketball" (a.k.a. Johannes, Jonathan, and Jack) continues over about a dozen years.

Emily's only two mentions of libraries are in stark contrast to each other. The first time demonstrates a certain naivety; the second shows an especially daring sexual side. In describing her grandmother's death, when Emily was 10, she (Emily) recounts her mother suggesting that the family get out of the hospital room for a little while to get some coffee. Emily reminds her mother
I am only ten, my legs are barely covered in peach fuzz, I just found out there are two r's in "library," this whole time it had never been "ly-bary" and how embarrassing, I'm so so embarrassed, Mom, can I have a ginger ale instead?
Much later in the book Emily, while having sex in a public restroom during one of her reunions with Jonathan thinks about going "somewhere else"
off to the basement stacks of the public library, where sex was a dark art and we were just students. Where I had to keep on my wool dress for decorum's sake and he just unzipped his pleated khaki's and out he tumbled like a waterfall.
This is a good summer read - pure escape.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but were Afraid to Ask - by Anton Treuer

I recently attended a teaching circle about Indigenous Studies at my university. This book was provided to all who attended. Like David Reuben's book (Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex, but were Afraid to Ask), Treuer's book is written in Q&A format. Unlike Reuben, however, Treuer actually seems to have some authority on the the topic he writes about. He also does not pretend to speak for all Indigenous people, and often points out issues on which different tribes, or individuals have differing opinions.  He begins with the question "What terms are most appropriate for talking about North America's first people?" which indeed answered my first question about the use of the word "Indians" in the title of the work and why and he uses the terms Indian and Indians throughout.

Truer also met my low-bar criterion for inclusion on this blog, which is simply: at least one mention of a library or a librarian. The first part of the book treats questions of "Terminology" and includes the question "How can I find out the meaning of place names around me that come from indigenous languages?" Following a little lesson about word roots, along with a bit of geography, he explains that
To find the deeper meaning of the Indian names for the places in which you live, it is often necessary to do a little research. Fortunately, some great books, like Virgil Vogel's Indian Names in Michigan and Warren Upham's Minnesota Place Names, have done a lot of groundwork to help you understand places in the Great Lakes region....There are similar books for other parts of the country-ask your local librarian for advice. 
Reading this prompted me to see what my own library had on the subject. A catalog search on place names in New England brought me to the record for a book called The Real Founders of New England written by Charles Knowles Bolton and originally published in 1929. Mr. Bolton explains in the preface that "History began, as far as New England is concerned, either in 1620 at Plymouth or in 1630 at Boston".

The book does list some Indian names for some New England cities and towns in an Appendix but does not appear to break down any names. The text appears to be useful for researchers who are interested in European view of Native Americans, both at the time of the initial encounter, and how the story was being told in 1929.

The local public library does appear to have a book that might be better for this kind of research Indian names of places in Plymouth, Middleborough, Lakeville and Carver, Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with interpretations of some of them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Goodbye, Columbus - the movie

In this 1969 "mood piece" Richard Benjamin plays Neil Klugman, a New York City Public Librarian. Ali McGraw (who played the librarian role in Love Story) is his love interest, Brenda Patimkin. Neil and Brenda spend a week together at her parents house, sneaking around at night having sex. When Neil discovers that Brenda isn't on the pill he goes ballistic. When she explains that she tried the pill and didn't like the side effects he insists she go back on it anyway. She finally relents and agrees to get a diaphragm. Of course everyone knows it is the woman's responsibility (and hers alone) to take care of birth control. Condoms were never mentioned. Apparently the two did not even discuss birth control until there was a very real possibility that a pregnancy may have happened. The romance is a bust once Brenda's parents find out about the tryst. But it was probably best this way, who wants to wind up with a librarian, anyway?

It was not until I started this post that I noticed the tag line for this film is "Every father's daughter is a virgin." If you want to see a really creepy film along these lines watch Virgin Tales - a documentary about the family that started  "Purity Balls".