Friday, January 8, 2010

Status: Anxious

Yes, I know. I have ignored this blog over the holidays. I needed a good, solid rest from the online world, which, I am happy to report back, I got. I'm not an enthusiastic Christmas or New Year's partyer, so I had a quiet time with some family and friends, which was nice. I also managed to read a few grown-up books which, in the season of massive BOYA readings, is not to be under-estimated. I highly recommend Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (linked sketches of characters in a small town, centering around Olive herself, a force to be reckoned with...).

I also renewed by utter love for the non-fiction writings of Paul Collins (he writes for McSweeney's, but also has a few non-fic books under his belt). His previous books include Banvard's Folly: Thirteen tales of people who didn't change the world (portraits of historical figures such as the inventor of the Concord grape and a man who designed a pneumatic subway for Manhattan, who could have been famous but, because of bad luck, bad timing, or bad decisions, now languish in utter obscurity"), Sixpence House: Lost in a town of books (about his short-lived decision to move to Hay - yes, that Hay - with his wife and baby), and Not Even Wrong: A father's journey into the lost history of autism (about aforementioned baby's autism diagnosis, and Paul's own exploration of the history of the often-undiagnosed condition). His new book is The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World. Of course, with Shakespearean scholars for a father and an uncle, and a raging love for Paul Collins' non-fiction writing (which is pretty exciting, since I am your typical female, mostly fiction, reader), I thought that just might appeal to me.

It was everything I had hoped! Paul is a master at capturing the utterly fascinating minutiae surrounding great moments in history, and The Book of William gives his talents centre stage (get it? I know, pathetic). Seriously: did you know that the First Folio's printer, William Jaggard, was a blind man? Or that Shakespeare didn't much like him in life and would probably have been annoyed he was printing the Folio (had he not died before his buddies decided to print it, and hired Jaggard)? Or that, of the many copies of the First Folio destroyed (by fire, shipwreck, damage, rot, etc.) one perished in a shipwreck that had 11 passengers and 13 crew as survivors (crewmembers pushed passengers into the water to save themselves)? Or that one of the first Japanese introductions to Sheikusupia's work was via puppets? Oh, and, seriously, Japan's Meisei University has 12 Folios? An image from Meisei's image database is at right - the title page for my favourite play, Measure for Measure.

Anyway, read it.

This post was supposed to be about anxiety. I have also been quiet recently because I have a lot going on (um, when do I not? I don't mean to complain, because I bring it on myself). I'm hunting for acquisitions/collection development policies to show my students, since I'm teaching Acquisitions starting next week at Algonquin. I'm excited about that, but just trying to prep my material asap, and somewhat frustrated by the previous instructor's love of Comic Sans MS as a font of choice.

I am also making some medium to big decisions, including one related to whether I stay at St-Laurent Branch in my current, temporary-but-available-permanently, job as a supervising librarian (based in a children's dept.), or return to my permanent position as librarian at Rideau Branch.

Then there's the class visit of grade 9 developmentally-delayed kids I haven't prepped for yet, the reading map about the Olympics I have to do, shelftalkers for St-Laurent, a bookmark about kids's books about the orchestra, speaking notes about databases for kids, furniture for the teen zone (almost done ... will post when finished but it is looking really good!), etc. etc. BLAH. Ironically, a lot of these projects are my first love, RA, but I hardly have time to turn around these days and so they keep getting shuffled to tomorrow's to-do list. Speaking of, I'm working tomorrow, so we'll see. Maybe it will be quiet. I hate even thinking that, because I wish I could be out at the desk just serving the public (hey, isn't that the general idea?) and I hate that I have to bring work with me or it won't get done (since I have 3.5 hrs off desk every week). I hate that I probably look busy, which is not very welcoming. I look up a lot, but still, it's not ideal.

Anyway, to distract myself from the stress of everyday life, and impending decisions, I am going to post in the coming days about some of the libraries I visited while abroad last month. I have a folder full of goodies I haven't had time to properly go through yet, so I will, and you all will benefit accordingly as armchair (desktop?) travelers. Just don't let your passport out of your sight! (P.S. to Lorie, if you didn't already find out: man-purse stolen from chair in a Caffè Nero in Mayfair)

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