Monday, February 10, 2014

Bonus Post: Read a book, an actual, real, book, but pick one worth reading

Woodbury, Connecticut

Since it serves a relatively small community, the Woodbury Library is quite a wonder. Its New Releases area has something for everyone (though I may volunteer to get on some committee or other at some point to influence their choices in the SF genre). There's an another part of the building where they keep the latest best sellers, but this New Release twenty-foot length of shelves always holds a wide range of current large print fiction, SF, non-fiction, and biography. It ranges from the best in journalism and scholarship, like the Lawrence in Arabia that I was returning today (what you didn't learn about WWI and the Middle East if, like me, you studied it fifty years ago in high school, and I expect the textbooks haven't gotten any more truthful since) to faux-news/history rendered into print, as seen above, center.

It seems to me that it is entirely appropriate for a library to present a book by a media whore like O'Reilly on the same shelves as popular works by a scholar like Joseph Stieglitz. Sure, it seems like a terrible waste of the library's acquisition funds. But there's the slight chance that someone returning this turd might, somehow, find it interesting to take out Countdown, by Alan Weisman, which was my trade-in/take-out. The crossover isn't likely, but I think it's much more likely to happen at the library, than it might online, in a social media context.


Ernest Theisen said...

You have offended me. I am a big O'Reilly fan. He is a fine person, a good American and a damm good writer. Good By

Carl Weese said...

Earnie, I'm offended by O'Reilly and and the rest of Fox "News." Misleading the audience—on current events, politics, the economy, science, you name it—isn't good journalism. It isn't patriotic, either.

Edd Fuller said...

Greetings Carl. I am not coming to the defense of O'Reilly--I don't watch his show and have never read his books. But I don't come to Working Pictures for political commentary, and if I did I would expect something more substantive than calling O'Reilly a "media whore" and his book a "turd." That is nothing more than name calling, and we have enough of that on both sides of the political divide. And as to Ernest's comment: "good American" and "damn good writer" is just a different form of name calling: nothing substantive there either. All we are left with is that everyone is "offended."

I am not offended by your views, and wouldn't stop my daily visits to Working Pictures even if I were because I respect your photographic knowledge and sensibility. Politics makes my head hurt--let's see some more pictures.

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

I read "Lawrence in Arabia" (by Kindle, not library loan) not long ago after visiting one of the places that he explored during his archeologist phase in the south of today's Israel. I found it fascinating, and am reading more about WW I as a result. The inclusion in the book of four different actors of the period is a big plus. Traces of all four stories still exist here.


Carl Weese said...

Scott, yes it's an incredible piece of research plus he's a great storyteller. Weaving the activities of the four primary European actors (none of whom is exactly a saint) is brilliant and enlightening. The consequences of the events couldn't be more relevant to what's happening today. I've had the same thought to dig into more on WW I but haven't gotten to it yet.

Edd, I'll plead guilty to inelegant phrasing, but I don't consider the post to be political. It's certainly not about partisan politics. What caught my eye was the visual arrangement of the displayed books, then their content set off a train of thought. The same thought might have been evoked if the centerpiece had been a book asserting young earth creationism, or climate change denial. It's not the library's job to weed out false narratives, or bad journalism. The goal of journalism is accuracy, not balance. But balance, without judging accuracy, probably is an appropriate goal for curating a library collection.