Monday, May 30, 2011

We need Bucky Fuller!

Grunch of GiantsGrunch of Giants by Richard Buckminster Fuller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Buckminster Fuller has been gone for nearly 30 years and the planet and human survival cry out for minds like his. A poet and genius and inventor who makes me blush that I have claimed I became a Librarian so I could be a Renaissance Man. This book is such a challenge to politics and politicians because it advocates looking at life and humanity from an entirely different perspective than any of their ilk. I won't try to paraphrase the book. He is so succinct - in spite of "repetition" that I think of more as refrains in a song - that any attempt to summarize would be long than the book itself, which is a mere 98 pages including the index. I will only say that I get goose bumps reading some of the observations he made in this 1983 book about economic and political trends that are so much more apparent now. He invented a lot of words, including "livingry" to mean the opposite of weaponry, and he made it clear that if what we spent on weaponty were diverted to livingry then not only would no one starve, but every person on Spaceship Earth could live at a higher standard of living than ever conceived even by the rich. Wow!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Incredible Power-Per-Page!

The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative BattleThe War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another short book that is so good I am tempted to quote the whole thing. I recommend that you get hold of this and read every word. I will indulge in four quotes from just the first section to give you a sense of what Pressfield offers. P 6: "...any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity...that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower...will elicit Resistance." P 26: "When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul's call, we are being good Americans and exemplary consumers...what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do...Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product." P. 33: "We're wired tribally, to act as part of a group. our psyches are programmed by millions of years of hunter-gatherer evolution. We khnow what the clan is; we know how to fit into the band and the tribe. What we don't know is how to be alone. We don't know how to be free individuals." P. 36-7: "The humanist believes that humankind, as individuals, is called upon to co-create the world with God. That is why he values human life so highly...the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them."

So go forth, govern thyself and create something!

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Monday, May 16, 2011


Sixkill (Spenser #40)Sixkill by Robert B. Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I might have given it another star except thinking about it makes me sad because Parker won't be writing any more Spenser novels. The prose was as spare as ever but effective and it was a fun read. RIP Robert Parker. I hope no one comes along to make posthumous updates to the series. Invent your own Heroes!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

A Kids Book Makes a Big Guy Cry!

I Got a D in Salami #2 (Hank Zipzer)I Got a D in Salami #2 by Henry Winkler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Henry Winkler made me cry! I won't give a spoiler and tell you why, instead I'll give a teaser and say "Read this book to find out why the title is literally true!" Call me a sap, but I really did shed a tear before the end - let me know if you do too if you read this. It's a kids' book that is not just for kids.

I had a strong motivation to read it, as spelled out in the following email I sent "From one HW to another" via the film company that brought him to Quincy for Kevin Jame's comedy "Here Comes the Boom."

I wrote: "At the 2005 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago I was part of a large and enthusiastic gathering - literally thousands of librarians - stirred to a standing ovation by Henry Winkler's Keynote Speech at the Closing Session of the conference. Mr. Winkler was a stunning and inspiring speaker about the value of public libraries and particularly the value of reaching out to, and "hooking" young readers who may not at first glance seem promising students. This tied in nicely with his series of novels for young people about Hank Zipzer: The World's Best Underachiever. This was the same convention where Barack Obama signed a copy of Dreams Of My Father 'To Harry The Librarian - Thanks for all you do.' Yet even that memory is less compelling than the sight and sounds of Henry Winkler advocating for causes that are dear to my heart. I would love to extend to Mr. Winkler an invitation for a personal tour of the Thomas Crane Public Library, considered a national architectural treasure even among non-librarians. We are right across the street! For selfish reasons of promoting the library I would love to have Mr. Winkler visit, and have it documented by the local media. However, should he not wish that to be part of his time here in Quincy, I would be equally happy to arrange for a discreet tour at his convenience that would avoid publicity and protect his peace and serenity."

So, while "sitting by the phone" (I'm still waiting) I decided to read some the first Hank Zipzer book. It was wonderful. Then this one, the one that I found so touching. I'll probably read more, even if the author never visists our library.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A "Thriller" That Didn't

The InformationistThe Informationist by Taylor Stevens

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Disappointing! The premise sounded great. After all, as a Librarian I'm eager to see people who can find and make use of information portrayed as exciting and worth reading about. There were so many comparisons to Steig Larsson's heroine that I thought I should read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo first, but it and the others about Lisbeth Salander were on reserve, so I grabbed this one. I had to renew it to have time to finish it - it was not compelling enough to keep me reading fast or voraciously. I eventulally finished it and already am beginning to forget much of it. Too bad because it was so promising. In the meantime I found a copy of ...Dragon Tattoo... but am so turned off by the derivative work that I don't feel motivated to try the Larsson. Sigh.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quincy Access Television celebrates 15 years

Quincy Access Television celebrates 15 years
Congratulations to our "next door neighbor." QATV's studios are attached to the Thomas Crane Public Library. Their staff are always eager to promote the library's events and all the other exciting things that make The City of Presidents a great place to live and work.