Wednesday, July 11, 2018

ANOTHER pointless review-- Books and Beaux

My take away from this Mid Century "Career Romance"? A fun snapshot of history that I'm going to keep, and a reminder that I really think books and politics, at least on the middle school level, should remain separate. I am in the minority on this, I know, and I do want to be able to have a wide range of books so all of my readers can see themselves, but I am not going to get involved in politics on the internet. Just not. My grandmother would NOT approve.

31217453Campbell, Rosemae Wells. Books and Beaux
1958 by The Westminster Press
Personal Copy

Sue Stratton is disappointed that she didn't get a library position near her home on Long Island or in NYC, and instead has to head off to the wilds of New England to be an assistant on the bookmobile for the State Library. She works for Miss Bean, and with Addie, a pleasant, hearty girl. It's a different sort of library work, loading up books and spending weeks on the road delivering them, often via local "librarians" who circulate books out of their front parlors. It is apparently hungry work, because Addie and Sue are constantly planning their next meal, which always seems to include lots of rolls and pie! Addie has an admirer in a "hermit", Stan Granby, who is starting up a dog training school, and Sue's interest is piqued in his friend Philip, who is a bit of a bratty guy, having been unsatisfied working for his father. Sue brings him to task for not playing fairly with the old man, and Philip is grateful to her and starts finding excuses to be in her area to squire her to various church suppers and square dances. The girls are constantly worried about the new state budget, hoping to get an increase so the old bookmobile can be updated, but concerned that the budget will be cut, even though their services are valuable to their patrons. When Mrs. Parsons, a librarian who is never pleased with their work and whose husband had been involved in state government, seems to be working against them, the girls come up with a plan to take their representative on the road with them to show how important their work is. Will the budget work in their favor, and more importantly, will romance?
Strengths: Well, I just want to travel back 60 years and work on a bookmobile now so I could rent rooms, go to square dances, and eat my own weight in doughnuts while working hard to deliver books to rural patrons who don't have the internet! This paints a very optimistic picture of the influence of libraries and of a time before computers. Mrs. Parsons would very likely support President Trump, and it was interesting that she complained about books written by possible Communists! I imagine that Sue would be heavily involved in Twitter if she were working today.
Weaknesses: A bit didactic and political, but then the author was heavily involved in library organizations. Not many books that mention the Library Bill of Rights!
What I really think: Librarians and fond patrons of libraries will enjoy this, if they can find a copy, and it's fairly forward thinking in its attitude toward women working, even if Sue and Addie also want some romance in their lives.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm--libraries that worry about the states cutting their budgets? The more things change, even after 60 years, the more they indeed stay the same! You're very wise not to discuss politics on your blog. I take pains not to discuss it on my blog (and I'm not allowed to do it anyway, since our library system is part of the county government) and firmly believe that the kids should ask their parents/teachers/trusted adults about such things. Though I will mention a point brought up in your other "pointless review" that i really believe that modern books try to instill values today every bit as much as they did 60 years ago. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not. We can see it now but I bet people will see current values 60 years from now. Will those people shake their heads or will they say, "Well done"? Good question to ask ourselves.