Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weeding Dilemma

If you follow me on twitter, then you know this summer and fall I've been weeding a library that has not been weeded in effectively 20 years. I'm finding some amazing/awful/atrocious stuff. Normally I'm a fairly efficient and decisive weeder. I like to think I do well at walking the fine line between far too ruthless and sentimental to the point of being a librarian-hoarder.
However, I've got a book that has me flummoxed.

Famous Negro Heroes of America by Langston Hughes. (blurry iPhone photo, apologies)
Copyright 1958 and that is the edition we have.


Cons: Not great condition, but not the worst. Passable-ish. Also potentially offensive title, slightly mitigated by the fact that it was written by Langston Hughes. Hasn't circulated since 2007.

Apparently this was part of an entire series of Famous Biographies for Young People, all listed on the back. And you can see below Hughes' name that he also wrote Famous Negro Music Makers which we do not own though the local University library does (shared catalog and reciprocal borrowing privileges).

So is this a classic because it is LANGSTON HUGHES or was this his quick contribution to a publisher series because dude had to eat you know. Or somewhere in the middle?

Thoughts? Weed? Keep? Try to fob off onto our local university? It hurts me to weed Langston Hughes, it really does, but condition and age and disuse speak against this one.

Related: My favorite TwitPics of books I'm weeding, but by no means a complete list. If I had photographed and tweeted everything that was ridiculously awful, I'd have doubled my time weeding. (all links should open in a new window, sorry I'm too lazy to re post them all here):
  • When you change the title because it is offensive, try totally changing it.
  • By "patriot" do you mean betrayed their people to the white man?
  • Maybe the 70s were different, but this picture does not seem to be advertising a children's story.
  • To be fair, I don't know that this book was every funny.
  • I don't think all clowns are inherently creepy, but really.
  • This status got published on page 17 of the September 2012 issue of School Library Journal!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Other Books

Friday Five (a very semi regular feature that is a list of five things). Today it is five books I would be reading if I were not reading for the Newbery award. I'm not complaining, it is an honor to be on the committee and I'm loving my work there, but this is what I'm missing.

  1. Railsea by China Mieville
    I didn't completely understand The City and The City but I loved it. A youth adventure from this brilliant author? It's rumored to be brilliant. (However he is British and thus this book is ineligible for the award.)
  2. Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
    I should have read this in January when it came out before the Newbery thing really exploded. (I only had a handful of books available to me then either through my library or through the publishers.) I've been a fan of the Ender Saga since my middle school days, and I keep coming back to them. They're old friends having new adventures. Dying to know how Bean and his children are coping in space. (Aimed at adults, Newbery is a children's award.)
  3. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
    If you've not heard of it, it was a hit overseas (where it was first published) and is a take on a Russian fairytale set in 1920s Alaska by an Alaskan author. I've actually got a copy of this (lent to me with the understanding that I won't be able to read it for months). It may be on the top of my list to read in January. (Aimed at adults, Newbery is a children's award.)
  4. Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    I can say without reserve that Zafon is my favorite living author. Other than Jane Austen works, my favorite book is Like Water For Chocolate. Spanish Magical Realism is one of my favorite genres. A coworker suggested the works of Zafon 4 years ago and I've devoured them ever since. Then I've turned my sister onto them. Usually I pre-order these books electronically so I can wake up and find them downloaded onto my device. I'll probably get the ebook to read to and from the conference. I'm actually surprised I haven't cracked and read this. Shows you how dedicated I am to reading Newbery eligible books this year. (Zafon is Spanish and his books are first published in Spanish both of which make him ineligible for the Newbery.)
  5. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
    I got an ARC of this and then a final printed copy. Clearly the publisher is trying to tempt us. And I am so tempted. Fantasy? Strong female Character? Elaborately drawn world and the beginning of a series? Check, Check, and Check. Any other year and I would have read this months ago. (It is aimed at teens and pushes too far at the "up to age 14" requirement for Newbery.)
Was on the list, but I broke down and read it anyway: Giants Beware by Jorge Aguiree. Fantastic children's graphic novel. The character is a strong female character (desperately needed in graphic novels, but popping up more often in children's graphic novel to my delight) in an action-adventure that would delight everyone and should appeal to girls and boys.

There are more. I've got a bunch. I'm still listening to some adult fiction and non-fiction on audio book, especially with my expanded commute. I've listened to Edith Wharton both The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth. (Someday I'm going to host a tea party and all we will do is eat dainty foods and discuss the parallels between Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. It will be pretentious and amazing. Because Lily Bart is Lydia Bennet.) There were many other audiobooks, lots of non-fiction, and right now I'm listening to It by Stephen King. I've never attempted one of his long books before; just read Carrie when I was 17. It's interesting and perfecting commuting on gray days fare.