Friday, March 30, 2007

I have just been scolded (gently) for not updating frequently enough, and in my haste to write I sat down and nearly subjected my few, dear readers to... ugh... philosophy. Which is okay for some.

But not for me.

So here is a short synopsis of the concrete thoughts that have been taking up room in my brain:

My daughter takes all the good dinosaurs. I feel like a dick every time I wrangle her for them, but I feel like a wuss when I don't. I understand that those are crass extremes of what should be a nuanced approach to parenting. But I know that if nobody tells her that she can't have all the good dinosaurs all the time, she will not only become unbearable in the short term, but will not be able to face the disappointments life brings with grace. Human beings have so little dignity as is, that grace is important. Also: I really do like the stripey dinosaurs too.

I have been reading The Higher Power of Lucky. I do not like it. I find it that each chapter is far too self contained, and in general the text is contemplative in a way that I would find solipsistic if it were party conversation. It is well written. It is certainly "literature," and should be in library collections for them what likes that sort of thing, despite foolish objections to the word scrotum. What if Pancreas were substituted for Scrotum? Well, it wouldn't make any sense in the book, that's what.

Ruby, on the other hand, liked the book very much.

It occurred to be that it is curious that the ivory tower, which canonizes such stalwart genre fiction writers as Shakespeare and Milton, who are both imaginative and solidly narrative, vigorously eschews genre fiction in favor of morose self involvement. Is that a broad enough generalization of literary fiction?

Browsing is the one great act of mystery in life. It is the one activity that really has unimagined and unintended consequences. There are other great and mysterious things, many of which produce altered states of consciousness: food, music, dancing, sex, prayer, exercise. But people really know what to expect from all those things, and go looking for them. The mystery comes from the deliciousness of sensation, the un-engaged mind. Browsing is the way the universe gifts the engaged mind. By browsing, you open yourself up to finding things that you did not know you needed. A case in point: this week, on the recorded book shelves, I found both a copy of the Arabian Nights, and D'auliers Greek Myths.

I did not know that I needed to hear those two sets of stories read aloud, but I did.

Lastly: librarians worry too much about being relevant. I don't know where else to go with that, but its true.