Monthly Archives: September 2013

Celebrate “Read a Book” Day

According to some of my Facebook friends, today is “read a book” day. Now this is something that I do everyday, so it makes as much sense to me as having a “breathing” day. Still, I’m always more than happy to give reading some love and publicity. 

I decided to celebrate the  day by taking stock of my reading for this year. According to Goodreads, I have read 41 books since January:

  • 7–history, biography, or memoir
  • 9 mysteries
  • 7 novels
  • 2 books I should have read before, but hadn’t (The first Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)
  • 9 on psychology topics, mostly about talent and creativity
  • 2 on writing
  • 5 that I can’t quite classify

Currently, I am reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and am engrossed in the machinations of the court of Henry VIII. 

But simply accounting for the books does not do my experience justice. So far this year, I have:

  • witnessed Thomas Cromwell defend Cardinal Wolsey and manage not to be placed in the tower (so far).
  • watched a sociopathic police typist play havoc with those around her (or does she?).
  • saw the beginning of the United States through the eyes of the first five presidents.
  • felt the sadness of an early-20th-century immigrant as she had to give up her dreams of college when her mother suffered a breakdown.
  • discovered that Buddhist monks can have a raucous sense of humor, and
  • watched Jane Eyre reenacted in 1950s England and Iceland.

Not bad for 8 months!


The Quotophiles

Writer Graham Greene once wrote, “People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations.”  Maybe so. But the Jolly Librarian has found solace in such meaningless generalizations for many years. I’ve also found that other people do as well. So for our Wednesday column this semester, we’re going to take our favorite quotations and put our own spin on them. 

Here’s the first one:

“Rather than admit a mistake, nations have gone to war, families have separated, and good people have sacrificed everything dear to them. Admitting that you were wrong is just another way of saying that you are wiser today than yesterday.”-– Don Ward

Our responses:

Colette: It always strikes me as strange that the things we all share as part of the human experience, like aging, and weakness and making mistakes are still things we are supposed to keep hidden or pretend aren’t happening at all.  You’d think if everyone experiences it at some time, we’d be more open to the concepts. Wouldn’t it be nice to just grow old as we all do, without commercial intervention, or to admit our mistakes and have others say, “I’ve been there. Thanks for owning it”?  

 I tend not to have difficulty admitting when I’m wrong, or when I’ve made a mistake (at least I didn’t that time back in 1998 when I made one :)). My difficulty tends to be in not overly kicking myself for it afterwards.  It’s not that I expect perfection from myself, I know better than that; I just hate it when I’ve been stupid.  I can forgive the stupidity of others much more readily than I can forgive it in myself.

Emily: I don’t know who Don Ward is or what qualifies him to dispense wisdom; therefore, I cannot respond to this quote. (Emily is always the librarian. She is always critically judging her sources. I looked up Don Ward and couldn’t actually find who he is.)

Pam: I’m thankful I don’t have a lot of problems with ‘pride’ issues, which is what this is all about, really. I don’t mind admitting I’m wrong, unless I think I am Not wrong. Otherwise, I’d just as soon learn the truth of the matter and move on with things. 

Sally: I must be wise, because I admit mistakes all the time and I am always wrong.

Jolly Librarian: Once I was quite upset about something that had gone wrong in one of my classes. A colleague said, “Relax. You’re allowed to learn and get better just as much as the students are.” It made sense to me, and I felt foolish that I had not seen it before. Admitting mistakes is certainly a key to growth, but only if we look to see where we made the mistake and then try a different method next time. I see too many people who simply follow up a mistake by doing the same thing, only more of it. So my basic philosophy is this: Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to admit those mistakes. And then make the necessary changes to prevent them from happening again.