Spring being the season when folk “longen to goon on pilgrimages”, we thought we would make several pilgrimages of a humanist nature to area libraries. First up: The Lloyd Library and Museum.
It’s easy to pass the Lloyd Library at the corner of Court and Plum without realizing the wealth it contains. If civilization looks like it’s finally decided to collapse, you’ll find me knocking on this botanical and pharmaceutical library’s front door with freshly baked cookies, canned goods, and all the toothpaste I can find in the hope of bribing my way into its five levels, the lowest of which was once probably outfitted as a fallout shelter by former Lloyd librarian Corinne Miller Simon given her predilection for Civil Defense. Reinforced concrete ribs stand closely spaced across the ceiling, suggesting Armageddon-proof engineering on the part of the building’s 1970s architects. It all began as the collection of three pharmacist brothers, John Uri, Nelson Ashley, and Curtis Gates Lloyd. John Uri might be the most famous, the all-around Renaissance man, renowned in scientific circles and the eccentric author of novels like the fantastic Etidorhpa (Aphrodite, spelled backwards). Clifton Avenue makes a sudden right-hand turn in the Gaslight District to avoid running straight into his magnificent home. Nelson Ashley was the “George Bailey” of the three, passing up dreams of piloting a riverboat to become the money-savvy backbone of Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists Inc. The youngest, Curtis Gates Lloyd, is the favorite of Betsy Kruthoffer, MLS, the Lloyd’s Cataloger, who has agreed to show me around. (more…)
It was not without some interest that my sluggish eyes sought an uneasy purchase upon the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week to note that our troublesome friend the eBook is up to no good as usual. The government alleges “collusion to raise the prices of eBooks” by Apple and several major publishers. So perhaps I wrong in an earlier blog post to accuse publishers of hating money. Keep abreast of this gripping story and find out! And have you, trusty eBook fans of the Mercantile, taken the time to follow this link with directions on how to voice your ire at many of these publishing companies’ refusal to sell eBooks to libraries? Something tells me you have better things to do, but just thought I’d ask. -Scripsi
In for the anniversary of the Watergate break-in is Thomas Mallon’s Watergate. Or, if you’re a nonfiction reader, go straight for the undiluted sap straight from the tree: The White House Transcripts (in the collection since the 70s).
Today’s entry in the “authors who ought to come out with their own brand of Canadian ’whisky’ ” category, Guy Vanderhaeghe completes his best-selling trilogy with A Good Man, set in the gritty, 19th century Canadian and American West.
Kate Rockland’s 150 Pounds, about the unlikely relationship between weight obsessed bloggers, one hell-bent on skinniness, the other on embracing her heft, bears an epigram by Kate Moss: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” To which I have to say: ever eaten buffalo wings dipped in blue cheese dressing, Kate? Well the jokes on you. But I digress from the literary matters at hand.
The philosophically provocative, hat-tip-to-Carver What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander probably earns the most-discussed at Brooklyn cocktail parties award. Very funny and very thoughtful.
Recent Niehoff lecturer A.S. Byatt weighs in with a mini tome apropos to the Mayan-predicted (more accurately the “yokos who don’t understand what the hell the Mayans were on about, or for that matter the ins and outs of Swiss particle acceleration“-predicted) end of the world that is supposed to happen this year with a short novel about the Norse myth of the end of the world: Ragnorok.
These are just a random sample from the Spring-swollen influx of quality lit available to YOU as a card-carrying member of the Literary Center of Cincinnati. Hope to see you at the check out desk, if not at any of the events comprising March Madness at the Merc.
Congratulations to Mercantile member, University of Cincinnati English Dept. PhD. candidate, Cincinnati Review volunteer, cyclist, dog owner, and all-around literary nice guy Brian Trapp for placing in Narrative Magazine‘s 30 Below contest with his story Liability. This isn’t the first contest he’s won. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Here at the Mercantile Library Department of Extra-literary Research or as it is affectionately referred to by the world’s literary research community, “MILDER”, we consider it our duty, in order to further the literariness of all humankind, to think about things nobody wants to think about. For example: sitting down. What, after all, is more literary than sitting? When was the last time you thought about it? Usually, sitting down is what you do to get some thinking done, and the last thing you would want to do is think about sitting because the idea is you’re supposed to be thinking about something else. We arrived at this line of inquiry when Norm helpfully reminded me, while I was complaining about the height of the stool at the front desk, that sitting down is actually bad for you, potentially even fatal–he was even so kind as to send me an article on the internet vis a vis the insidious nature of spending one’s days on one’s derrier. Needless to say, after poo-pooing it, I actually read it and immediately began pacing the room, dictating this blog post as I vigorously rounded Longfellow and headed down room for another pass of Shakespeare. Eventually my legs got tired so I sat down, typed the question: “Is sitting down actually bad for you?” into Google and the below terrifying infographic popped out. -Ed Scripsi
Kirkus Reviews has released its “Best Books of 2011″ list. Debates over the subjective nature of what constitutes a good book aside, Kirkus applies the sort of roll-up-your-sleeves “get ‘er done” and, if need be, punch-anyone-who-quibbles-unnecessarily-over-definitions-in-the-face attitude one comes to expect from “The World’s Toughest Book Critics”. These are “the ones we would recommend to friends”. You’ll find the selections that have found their way into Merc’s collection after the break. -Ed Scripsi (more…)
The leaves have begun to turn which can only mean one thing: hundreds of authors will soon converge on the Duke Energy Convention Center for that regional orgy of books and literariness, Books by the Banks. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 22nd. This is the perfect opportunity to chat up a favorite best-selling author like Dennis Lehane, Judy Collins, Chris Bohjalian, Will Lavender, or Paula McLain while they sign your copy of their work. You might even encounter a real life author surreptitiously swigging vodka in the restroom to counteract their bookish stage fright as they prepare to battle wits in one of the many scintillating panel discussions on topics as diverse as regional cooking, fictional biography, reinventing the classics. You’re in pole position to start your holiday shopping for that insatiable bookworm in the family who, denied the gift of reading material, is likely to go passive-aggressively psycho on you because it’s always the quiet, brooding types, isn’t it? As you can see from the festival’s poster, this event fuses all that is great about the region: fine if homely cuisine that is also spicy and goes with oyster crackers, jungle cats reading about themselves, the Great American Passtime: ”necking”, free events, athletic sports teams, piles of books and the pinnacle of cool: shades. Stay tuned for the highlights of what promises to be another superlative book festival including: an attempt on the life of a Guinness Book of World Records record, authors who have biked across the nation, another who has created their own brand of the most amazing icecream on earth other than Graeters, and another whose publicist got into trouble for suggesting someone burn down Edith Wharton’s house, another whose novel takes place in the memory of a man who has just been crushed by a stuffed bear, and a whole host of others. -Ed Scripsi
Despite my growing conviction that the internet (I will never capitalize that word, dag nabbit) is ruining everything, I continue to use it (are we using it or is it using us? Or both? Ahhh! Talk among yourselves), especially Goodreads.com, which seems to me a bit like social networking for the antisocial. I’ll admit it: having marked a book as “reading” on my goodreads account actually motivates me to read more quickly, waking as I do each morning to find a flood of Goodreads updates from friends (many of which I suspect to be the result of goodreads friends returning from the bar after midnight to update their goodreads shelves with the entire oeuvres of favorite authors who some beery conversation reminded them that they, like, totally used to love.
And so it is not entirely without interest that I note the newcomer on the social networking scene is getting in on the bookish action. That’s right, folks, you can now share a google book on Google+. The future has obviously arrived.
Meanwhile, the ‘I Hate Reading” page on facebook has earned, at the time of this web-logging, 439,642 “likes“. Perhaps the internet isn’t ruining everything so much as making it more annoying. -Ed Scripsi