Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Sure, there were lots of books lost during the pandemic, but most of them were newer titles that weren't hard to replace. Still, I haven't done a lot of weeding, feeling that loss. When a Follett order arrived in October, I knew things were going to get dire if I didn't pull some books. Also, I try to keep the average age of the collection the same age as the students, so the average year of publication of my collection was 2008 when I ran a Destiny analysis. 

I've been in my position 20 years, so if there are books that I didn't buy... they're at least twenty years old. A ton have been weeded, but I secretly want to run an archive of children's literature, so it's hard. 

This is where we are-- if no one has read the book, and I don't actually feel like HANDING the book to a child, it needs to go. Doesn't matter if the book was here when the library opened. Doesn't matter that the replacement cover has a pretty design on it. No one is ever going to read Wind in the Willows or a random 1960s James Blish title. It's taking up space and getting in the way. Some of them even have problematic content. 

Will I keep Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase? My two copies of Zan Hagen's Marathon? Absolutely. 

For now, while they still give me joy. I'm not an archive.

Duncan, Lois. Stranger with My Face 
February 1981 by Hamilton
Library copy

Laurie lives a privileged life on an island on the east coast, with her father who is an author and mother who is an artist, along with two much younger siblings. She has a boyfriend, and does well in high school. When people start seeing her around the island in places where she hasn't been, Laurie starts to worry. She talks to new student Helen, whose parents had been teachers on a Navajo reservation in the Southwest, and suspects that perhaps someone is appearing through astral projection as her. When she finds out that her parents adopted her as an infant, and that she is part Navajo AND that she had a twin that they didn't adopt, things take a strange turn. Laurie is angry at her parents for keeping this secret, but intrigued by Lia, her twin. Things get weirder from there. 

Clearly, the depiction of "Indians" is many kinds of wrong. This would have been Yound Adult back in the day, but now seems a bit immature but also sort of like the writing of  John Irving. I loved Duncan in middle school and kept this mainly because of that... and because of the cover. I had that outfit.

It is with great sadness that I send this battered copy on its way.

Danziger, Paula. The Pistachio Prescription
January 25th 1999 by Puffin (first published 1978)
Library copy

If you really want to understand my personality, you have to read Danziger. I must have marinated in her writing in middle school. My own horribly titled I'm Going Crazy, Want to Come is rife with her influence. Her work is also a snapshot of 1970s zeitgeist. The snarky tone was considered refreshing, the humor that seems weird and forced today, and the bad parenting that Gen X survived are all on display. Cassie is in high school and is rather anxious, and copes by eating red pistachios even though her mother forbids them, due to their red dye. I'm sure at some point her mother berates her for her weight, because that's what mothers did back then. I couldn't read this too carefully. It was just painful. Not only that, but the twenty year odl prebind is yellowed, crumbly, and smells bad. 

I should not be so emotionally attached to these titles. 

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. The library where I work part-time seems very ruthless with discards. When I know them better I'd like to ask if they check before discarding if the book is the last copy in the consortium. Luckily, the one time they had me working on discards, the books were literally falling apart and the decision had already been made!