Mr Librarian

Thoughts from the Stacks

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In the Country of the Blind, Carnivorous Plants Are King

In the country of the blind, carnivorous plants are king: Review of “Day of the Triffids”

The Day of the Triffids (1951) by John Wyndhamis an entertaining but awkward marriage of scifi silliness and social parable. When almost the entire population goes suddenly blind after watching a weirdly green meteor shower, the human race struggles to survive and behave decently amid chaos and despair. Survival is made harder by the rise of the triffids: towering mobile carnivorous plants…

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Filed under apocalypse blindness dystopia science fictiond scifi triffids

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Marronage and the Specter of Black Autonomy

American Maroons and the Specter of Black Autonomy -

Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons (2014) by Sylviane A. Dioufis a compelling, comprehensive, and original study of slaves in the American South who escaped into the wilderness rather than to the North. The term “maroons” was long reserved for use by Latin American and Caribbean historians, while scholarship and popular understanding of American slavery focuses on runaways who…

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Filed under American history maroons slavery

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Running Man Goes the Distance

Running Man

The Running Man (1982) by Stephen King lacks literary merit as Harold Bloomwould define it. What it does have is crackling dialogue, raw action, and relentless suspense. Living in a dystopian United States in 2025, the eponymous Running Man is Ben Richards, a bitter, penniless urban laborer who volunteers to participate in a nationally televised game show. The longer he can survive pursuit, the…

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Filed under action American literature dystopian literature stephen king suspense

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Spiritual Terror & the Corn Maiden

Spiritual Terror & the Corn Maiden

The Corn Maiden (2011) by Joyce Carol Oates is a novella of psychological realism and spiritual terror, laden with masterly characterization of souls both “normal” and aberrant. To quote Charles Lamb out of context, “the kind of fear here treated of is purely spiritual,” as “strong in proportion as it is objectless upon earth.” Here are no garish torture scenes, sexploitation, ghosts, or other…

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Filed under American literature Corn Maiden crime Joyce Carol Oates realism sacrifice terror

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Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000) is a David Sedaris autobiography, and it knows it. Its scattershot vignettes ooze with whimsical American, mirroring his appearances on NPR’s This American Life. Creative nonfiction is spiced with a sense of humor that crosses into weirdness but skirts discomfort. Sedaris narrates diverting fluff stories ranging from his speech therapy sessions to his sojourn in…

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Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2003) exceeded my highest expectations. Greeted with universal acclaim by critics and popular audiences alike, Erik Larson’s nonfiction narrative unfolds like a thriller set at Chicago’s huge World Fair (1893). Featured are a charming young serial killer (H. H. Holmes), a brilliant architect (Daniel Burnham), and a mentally ill newspaperman (Patrick…

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Filed under chicago erik larson murder mystery serial killers true crime windy city world fair

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On “Geek” Versus “Nerd”

On “Geek” Versus “Nerd”

Michael Rodriguez:


Originally posted on Slackpropagation:

To many people, “geek” and “nerd” are synonyms, but in fact they are a little different. Consider the phrase “sports geek” — an occasional substitute for “jock” and perhaps the arch-rival of a “nerd” in high-school folklore. If “geek” and “nerd” are synonyms, then “sports geek” might be an oxymoron. (Furthermore, “sports nerd”…

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Editing Wikipedia While In Library School

Editing Wikipedia While In Library School

Michael Rodriguez:

Check out my latest Hack Library School blog post: Editing Wikipedia While in Library School. Also known as wikibrarianing!

Originally posted on Hack Library School:

Are you a Wikibrarian? I recently became one—a librarian who edits Wikipedia (“the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”)—and I have found the experience rewarding in the extreme. I have even stumbled into a role…

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Carl Sandburg’s “Iron”: Antiwar Poetry

Carl Sandburg’s “Iron”: Antiwar Poetry


Long steel guns,

Pointed from the war ships

In the name of the war god.

Straight, shining, polished guns,

Clambered over with jackies in white blouses,

Glory of tan faces, tousled hair, white teeth,

Laughing lithe jackies in white blouses,

Sitting on the guns singing war songs, war chanties.


Broad, iron shovels,

Scooping out oblong vaults,

Loosening turf and leveling sod.


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Filed under antiwar carl sandburg death shovels war

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Dangerously seductive words to live by

Dangerously seductive words by which to live. Petyr Baelish’s “Chaos is a ladder” in Game of Thrones

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” - Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones

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Filed under chaos Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin opportunism Petyr Baelish power Song of Ice and Fire

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s phantasmagoric children’s story

Roald Dahl. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 1964. Phantasmagoric children’s story.

charlie-and-the-chocolate-factoryI began this book with flaming negativity: it’s about chocolate lust and a weirdo recluse—who cares? I would resist the notion that Dahl crafted a sublime literary work, but Charlie and Chocolate Factoryis an entertaining fluff piece in which Willy Wonka is not a pedophile, greedy or obnoxious children suffer…

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Filed under book review roald dahl