Weekend Reading: The Lost Ones

ImageOur patience was greatly tested last week when we discovered that A Wanted Man, the latest Lee Child Jack Reacher Nail Biter, was spoken for – two reserves on the damned thing, so we could not snatch it for the weekend trip to visit the grandwolven and continue to call ourself an ethical librarian.  Fortunately – make that most fortunately – we have an extremely courteous son-in-law who had his own copy of the Reacher which he offered to let us use even though he had yet to crack the cover.  Fortunately for both of us, he also had The Lost Ones, Ace Atkins’s second Quinn Colson case, which lived up in almost every way to The Ranger, which was the first in the series.  We may have shared our concern about Mr. Atkins spreading himself too thin with taking on the Spenser franchise for the greedy Robert B. Parker estate.  We never had much use for Spenser, and we don’t want to see Mr Atkins burning himself out at an early age.

-Nemo Wolfe


Published in: on September 17, 2012 at 11:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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History Detective Wes Cowan Visits Merc

Last week’s By the Book lecture featured anthropologist, History Detective and Antiques Roadshowman Wes Cowan speaking on books that have influenced his career.  A consummate showman, Wes was kind enough to permit this recording of his presentation.  Apologies for my less than ideal microphone position–the first minute is somewhat quiet, but gets much louder after that.

To listen, press play on the widget below.

-Ed Scripsi

-Ed Scripsi

Objet d’art

Library member Naomi Dallob has donated, and Library president Deborah Ginocchio has had framed, the newest addition to our collection of objet d’art, the oldest intact collection of public art in the city.  This woodcut on paper likeness of the master of mystery and the macabre, by Benjamin Miller (Cincinnati, OH, 1877-1964) graces the left pillar at the circulation desk, and connects visually with Brenda Tarbell’s two splendid ceramic ravens perched atop shelves at each end of the reading room.

His grim stare is meant to inspire fear in overdue borrowers of library books.

Thanks Naomi and Deborah!

-Ed Scripsi

Jeff Suess: Renaissance Man

Jeff  Suess, who helms the Mercantile’s Graphic Novel Reading Group, has published a story in Torn Realities, a  collection of Lovecraftian (Lovecrafty?) stories put out by Cincinnati’s own Post Mortem Press.  Jeff also writes a weekly column, “Our History”for Cincinnati’s own Enquirer.

-Ed Scripsi


Publishing's real nemesis brandishes her spear

After shooting off my uninformed mouth on the eBook mess, I read David Carr’s piece on “Book Publishing’s Real Nemesis” in today’s New York Times.


A Rare Library on Plum


The Lloyd Library, as it appeared in Cincinnati Magazine, June 1972.
Click photo to travel back in time.

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…)

eBooks in court cage match round one? Ding!

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

Leap Day Book Roundup–a smorgasbord of books!

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).

Fans of Stewart O’Nan: check out the Last Night at the Lobster-sized The Oddsa Love Storyaccording to Kirkus Reviews, “a valentine to marriage as it is actually lived in modern times.”

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.


Ed Scripsi

Mercantile Library Member Wins Narrative Magazine Prize

Brian TrappCongratulations 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.

-Ed Scripsi

The Mercantile’s Guide to Survival

Take a page from Papa's playbook: write standing up and never let one's BAC dip to zero.

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

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding