Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cornerstones and Bookmobiles

What you see above is a screen shot from the Seattle Public Library's website, showing that the SPL system has chosen to put four copies of The Astrologer into their inventory, which is really very cool. When I was a lad, public libraries were where I found books to read. Young Bailey was a frequent visitor to the bookmobile and the school library as well. I have many fond memories of the bookmobile. I love our local SPL branch and I am convinced that public libraries are a hallmark of a civilized society. A cornerstone. A foundation. Choose your own metaphor, but libraries matter, and look, you: my novel is available through my city's library system. I am well pleased, and I leave you with some Whitman that is perhaps too much about being an author but does, at least, praise libraries:

SHUT not your doors to me, proud libraries,
For that which was lacking on all your well-fill’d shelves, yet needed most, I bring;
Forth from the army, the war emerging—a book I have made,
The words of my book nothing—the drift of it everything;
A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect,
But you, ye untold latencies, will thrill to every page;
Through Space and Time fused in a chant, and the flowing, eternal Identity,
To Nature, encompassing these, encompassing God—to the joyous, electric All,
To the sense of Death—and accepting, exulting in Death, in its turn, the same as life,
The entrance of Man I sing.


  1. I have exceedingly fond memories of the libraries when I was a kid. My mother always took us on Thursday in the summer at the beach, and Saturday in the winter in the city. Both were old buildings, and they had that smell, you know, that great library smell. Book dust, leather, wood polish, old lady librarian.

    I really have get on the stick and get Monster to the library more often. Unfortunately, she has three floor to ceiling book shelves full of books she hasn't read yet.

  2. I like how quiet libraries are, and how they are homes not just to books, but to reading.

    I am goddamn sick of talking about my own book, though. I wish I'd stop. Really, I do. But one gets into the habit, I think, especially just after the book is released. All my coworkers are asking me about the book, Mighty Reader and I talk about the book at home, and I blabber about the book incessantly here on the internet. Did I once have other things to talk about? I'm reading Aristotle now. I could talk about that. Aristotle was an ass.

  3. Mighty Reader mildly points out that you used your book as a jumping-off point to talk about libraries which isn't really the same as talking about your book. I *loved* the library of my youth. The Children's Section was on the lower level and all the Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, and Bobbesey Twins were in a nook near the Children's Check-out. You'd go up a few wide stairs to reach the Adult Section passing, en route, a giant glass case filled with stuffed birds. It was all gorgeous and I hope they haven't remodeled all the charm and silence and dusty smell out of the building.

  4. I would be honored to see some of my writing in a library. When I was a kid, I would join summer library reading programs to get the prizes, but then I got old enough to cross from the children's section to the adult section and with that transition came a new sense of responsibility.

  5. And with a new sense or responsibility came novellas about cannibals. I see how that works.

  6. Some day I will come full circle and write a children's book about cannibals.

  7. This is really fantastic! I've never had a library just up and buy my books without someone requesting them first!