Saturday, May 23, 2009


Some days I really love being a librarian. I mean, I don't think I've hated it, but there are really good moments. The best ones sometimes come when you've helped a reader with a really difficult enquiry. Like today! After tracking down an obscure government paper (not my area AT ALL), she thanked me and told me it was the mark of a real librarian :). Yay.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brilliant Video...Please Watch

So, I'm not usually a fan of other people's homemade videos. But this rocks. There's dancing, a whole wedding party playing air guitar, and more. Watch.

Brian & Eileen's Wedding Music Video. from LOCKDOWN projects on Vimeo.

found on A Cup of Jo

Monday, May 18, 2009

I love teaching

Child at dance: Dances with eyes closed

Me: Why are you dancing with your eyes closed?

Child: It's cool.

Me: But it's a little bit dangerous with all these other people. Maybe you should save that for home.

Child: Continues as before.

Me: Really, I'm going to ask you to sit down if you keep going like that.

Child: Sighs like the world is ending and dances while blinking continuously.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Well, I've been posting lots of interesting children's books (I refrained from posting the Naked Mole Rat Wears Clothes book but I'm sure you can imagine it in sufficient slightly creepy detail -- "naked mole rats are part mole and part rat but allllll naked), lots of catty comments about teenage films (that I'm sure I didn't see and enjoy and and read), and lots of cute kittens, but I have been up to more than that.

Dean and I hosted a dinner/party thingamajig last night that went well...some library people and some SAE people and some Scripps people and some other people and lots of food and ice cream sundaes and, of course, champagne because it's my favourite drink (and also because Manchester United won the Premier League yesterday).

I also voted for the Professor of Poetry (did you know that only somewhere around 400 people voted in total, even given all the added publicity that the campaigns got due to Derek Walcott pulling out? I think that's a bit sad and a lot surprising). I went running lots. And danced lots. I learned that the Bodleian is responsible for some important Library of Congress subject headings, including "veganism." Fun fun.

I've also been printing again. I wanted to do a nice print of some Rilke lines, and I had planned to typewrite them and add some nice woodcut or something of the sort, but I couldn't find anything and decided to use the Bod's Bibliography Room (because Paul Nash, master printer, is wildly friendly and willing to help). So I'm back to printing presses, and realising I could actually spend my lunch and breaks every week printing if I wanted to. Wow. Fun.

I am starting belly dancing with Kim this week! And seeing Star Trek! And finally reading Brick Lane (Monica Ali) to see if it's as good as the fuss! And trying not to spend money!!!! And using too many exclamation points!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twilight: The Smaller, More Twinkly Version

Read it:

Twilight in 15 Minutes

It's by cleolinda and she rocks.


[Edward drags her by the arm through the woods, like, what, you couldn't get a good enough grip on her hair or something? Damn. Then he zooms her up the mountain on a forcible piggyback ride and storms off into a single spotlight sunbeam in an epic snit over what a monster he is, he must SHOW HER the HORROR OF HIS BEING, a TERRIBLE SECRET accompanied by the SOFT FLUTTERING OF WINDCHIMES:]


BELLA: Oh, wow, I spent like $60 at Sephora trying to get sparkle like that. What is that, Urban Decay?


BELLA: Oh, so it's a drugstore brand?


BELLA: FINE. WHATEVER. But the lipstick, that's gotta be Cargo, right?


Sunday, May 10, 2009

So, after having it pointed out to me, I decided to post this.

PS (in advance). Re the Shakespeare question. On some other blogs, people keep make comments in the direction of "Ooooh I hate Shakespeare, school ruined him for me" etc etc. Rubbish. Sorry. I know some teachers are lame, but it is NOT a problem to teach Shakespeare at the age of 10, as some people seem to believe. It just has to be done right.

1) What author do you own the most books by?

That depends on whether you count the books I have here in Oxford or the book I "own" at home or all the books I count as existing in my "owning" domain (i.e. Dad's books and stuff). At the moment, Flann O'Brien is up there, as are Yeats, Synge, Joyce, and Orwell. At home, I still have about every book by Scott O'Dell, Louisa May Alcott, etc. If Audrey Niffeneger wrote more books, I would own them. Plus, this question is biased because it implies that the more books you own, the more you like an author. That is just not true.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Hmmm. Again, if you count my owning domain :), possibly At Swim-Two-Birds or various editions of Yeats.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Clearly. Although as Churchill once said...

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Henry. Only some people will get that.

Generally I fall in love with lifestyles rather than characters.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
The Beekeeper's Apprentice. The Doomsday Book. The Time-Traveller's Wife. Various books from my childhood that are not picture books. The Dead.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?
I'm not sure. I read too many I think. Possibly the Narnia books (I realise that's not A book, but deal with it).

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
The Information Society. Rubbish. "Look, the internet!!!!"

I also tried to read The Line of Beauty, which I realise is award-winning and all that, but I got bored.

Also, Twilight is tied for the worst and the best. It's SO bad, but has inspired more discussion than almost any other book. Will and I have some great theories.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
I hate questions like this; I read too many books. Possibly in rereading To the Lighthouse I realised Woolf is one of the ultimate capturers (I know that's not a word, sue me) of human emotion.

Oh oh oh Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon. Best nonfiction book I've read in AGES.

Does At Swim-Two-Birds count if I'd already read it a billion times?

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
At Swim-Two-Birds
Midnight's Children

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Someone else said Margaret Atwood. NOOOOOOO.

I am not sure. Many people I read are dead.

Is it a huge step to mention someone like Brian Friel??? I guess I'm a bit biased towards the Irish side.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Could you make At Swim-Two-Birds into a movie and not make me angry? If so, do it.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Anything by Woolf. It wouldn't work.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
After reading Twilight I dreamt I was a vampire. I'm not sure if that counts.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Sometimes I feel all superior about certain books other people are reading. Then I remember something written in The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. When the main character is lamenting his own parents' reading material (as in, they read romances and science books instead of Shakespeare), his boss tells him to get over it because in any case they showed him that reading was enjoyable, no matter what the material. I try to keep that in mind when faced with certain books.

Still, I could say Twilight.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
How can anyone not like Shakespeare (sorry that was based on all the other answers I've seen to this questions). I'm not really sure....which ones are obscure? I've seen A Comedy of Errors, which isn't incredibly common.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Hahahahahahaha. Loaded question. I love Doestoevsky, but would have to go with the French.

18) Roth or Updike?
I'm sad and have not read either.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I haven't read any Eggers but was massively underwhelmed by Sedaris (sorry Arathi)

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Who writes a literary blog when they haven't read Milton or Chaucer and hate Shakespeare (argh, sorry, again based on previous answers). I think Shakespeare.

21) Austen or Eliot?

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Um. It used to be Modernism. Not anymore. Thank you Oxford and your "20th Century" that spans 30 years. Now it might be the early classics (I'm talking Greek here). I don't know. That's a stupid question. There are too many books.

23) What is your favourite novel?
At Swim-Two-Birds. The Time-Travellers Wife.

24) Play?
Hmmmm. I feel like there is something I saw recently that I should say but can't get into my head. Possibly anything by Brian Friel.

25) Poem?
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven -- Yeats
Duino Elegies -- Rilke
Most of ee cummings

26) Essay?
Those in Paris to the Moon

27) Short story?
I'm not a big short story reader. If anyone suggests something I will try it.

28) Work of nonfiction?
Paris to the Moon.

29) Who is your favourite writer?
Is it ok to say Flann O'Brien when I don't like some of his stuff?

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
There are so so so many.

31) What is your desert island book?
I tend to be able to reread books that are a bit less classic-y in the traditional sense and more modern. Possibly The Time Travellers Wife, or the Beekeeper's Apprentice.

32) And... what are you reading right now?
I put down The Information Society because it was rubbish. I am now reading Librarianship: An Introduction and am again not so thrilled. I just reread The Time Traveller's Wife. Also I read for the first time Coetzee's Disgrace, and was duly impressed. I am going to see him speak next month and must be prepared with questions I will not be allowed to ask (don't ask). I am also about to start Zuleika Dobson but unfortunately I only have the most beautiful illustrated but not-very-portable copy (oh Rachel it is so so so pretty I do love it).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Weekend Plans

It's Friday!!!! I swear that is becoming more and more like music. I love my job, but the past few months have been so busy that I wake up counting down the days until I can sleep past 7.

This week itself has been a fantastic mix of old friends and old plays and fun. My good friend Ryan from high school came to visit (one of those random "Liz! I'm in England! Are you?" emails that I so love). Unfortunately I had to work, but we spent a sunny evening wandering through colleges and along the canals before meeting Dean and his lot for dinner. I hadn't seen Ryan in a couple years (he's a park ranger and tends not to be home in the summer), so we got to catch up and trade police pull-over stories.
Dean and I also went to see the Druid Theatre's production of The Playboy of the Western World. It was fantastic. Let me start by saying we got FREE tickets because we're oh-so-stylishly "under-26's". The government definitely gets some things right.

I've seen the Druid in action before; Dean and I saw The Cripple of Inishmaan in November. I know some people weren't thrilled with it, but I thought it was fantastic. Likewise with this. For all my reading of the play, I forget sometimes that it is a play. It is meant not only to be read and analysed and enjoyed but also to engage an audience of real live people. The production brought out both the pathos and the humanity of the characters in a way I think everyone in the audience, even those who clearly didn't know anything about Synge, could enjoy. Christy, especially, was both entirely pathetic and endearing. The play was actually hilarious. The only thing that troubled me was the amount of laughs it was getting right up until the final line -- but then, perhaps that was ideal. Part of the play's thrust comes as it both makes fun of and celebrates the life the characters lead -- its triteness and its incredible reality.

As for the rest of the weekend:

Cleaning house (not my favorite. Actually, who am I kidding. I like it)
Dean's mum and Alan coming to visit!
People over for some talk and wine tonight
Out with girls/Dean/work people tomorrow
Sleeping in Sunday!
Running if the sun shows itself
Making rhubarb bread with rhubarb from Ian's garden
Designing and printing (with the Bod's press) a print of Rilke quotes


Monday, May 4, 2009


So, I think I applaud this as an excellent use of things like those old catalogues you were going to throw out anyway or things like romance novels. But I'm not so sure how it makes me feel when it's something like a volume of Rilke or my favorite novel...beautiful or destructive? What do you think?