Monday, February 09, 2004

I recently bought a kitschy romance, called "The librarian's passionate night" written by Cindy Gerard and published by Silhouette books. Now I just discovered that this is not the only Silhouette novel starring librarians, they rather seem to be uncountable (okay, it's hyperbolic):
Sharon Sala: Amber by Night (2003); Allison Leigh: Montana Lawman (2002); Elizabeth Bevarly: The Temptation of Rory Monahan (2001); Carol Grace: The Librarian's Secret Wish (2000); Elizabeth Harbison: Annie and the Prince (2000); Sally Tyler Hayes: Cinderella and the Spy (2000); Nikki Benjamin: The Major & the Librarian (1999); Caroline Cross: The Notorious Groom (1998); Barbara McMahon: Cinderella Twin (1998); Kathryn Jensen: I married a prince (1997); Linda Turner: Maddy Lawrence's Big Adventure (1996); Glenda Sanders: Look Into My Eyes (1995); Laurie Campbell: And Father Makes Three (1995); Cathie Linz: Handyman (1991); Emilie Richards: Runaway (1990); Stephanie James: Velvet Touch (1982)...
As far I can say from the short descriptions on and, most of these (female) librarians have something in common: They are mid30s, unmarried, still virgins and longing for a man like they use to read about...

Friday, February 06, 2004

I just browsed the catalogue of Harrassowitz publishing house and found very interesting books. One of my areas of collection emphasis is dictionaries of various languages. My most "exotic" ones are - so far - "Japanese - English - Sinhala" and "Indonesian"; the most beautiful one is a French "nouveau petit Larousse illustré" from 1938 with many illustrations. At Harrassowitz', I spotted the following which I'd really like to purchase: a "concise dictionary of Akkadian", a Tartar - German dictionary, an Aramaic - new Hebrew dictionary... and: the "Rückläufiges Wörterbuch der vogulischen Schriftsprache" (~ retrograde dictionary of Vogulian literary language).
I never heard anything of Vogulian before, so I googled a bit: Vogulian is part of the finno-ugric family. More precisely, it is one of the three ugric languages, which makes it similar to Hungarian, actually most similar from all finno-ugric languages. It is also called Mansi(c) and is spoken by only five-thousand people living in parts of Sibiria, east of Ural.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I'm planning to introduce remarkable libraries here, and I'm starting with the "Literaturhaus Mattersburg". It offers a library with about 7000 books - its main focus being on central european literature, Austrian contemporary fiction, ethnic minorities, judaism, exile - and a carefully selected children's library. The libraries are opened Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to 6, Friday from 9 to 1 o'clock.
There are also a lot of literary activities, like children's storytime at night and readings from centraleuropean authors. Yesterday, the new series "literatur nach tisch" was started, taking place one Tuesday a month on 2 o'clock. The title is a play on words, so not easy to translate, but "nach-tisch" means "dessert" as well as "after dinner". Here people involved in the cultural life introduce their favourite books or books on which they want to draw attention.
The head librarian of the Burgenland provincial library, an author himself, introduced two books by authors coming from Burgenland: "Wäre Franz ein Fluss, müsste er pausenlos entspringen" (really can't be translated properly) by Franz Zalto and "Am Pinkaboden" by Friedrich Singer.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I read a wonderful book last weekend: "Miss Zukas and the library murders" by Jo Dereske, Avon Books 1999. Miss Helma Zukas, an US-American librarian with lithuanian roots, works in the public library of Bellehaven. When suddenly a dead man is found between the stacks (fiction, MO - NE, by the way), she and her friend Ruth, an unorthodox artist, can throw light on the crime. Zukas is a quite proper and accurate librarian (yes, it is quite stereotype), but she is portrayed with affection and certainly not "black&white". She contrasts perfectly with bohemian Ruth. The books are funny and exciting, and, along the way, the readers can learn a lot about American public librarianship (if they want to). And please have a look @ the cover!
The author was a librarian herself, which is fortunately reflected in the texts. There are many more mysteries with Helma Zukas: for example 'Out of circulation', 'Final notice' and 'Miss Zukas shelves the evidence'.