20 New Year’s Resolutions for Book Nerds

by Ginni Chin

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If you’re a book nerd, you know the usual boring New Year’s resolutions just don’t work for you. The most popular resolutions every year are to lose weight, eat better, sleep better, meditate, drink less, exercise more, and save money. Sure, these resolutions are all generically “good” for you, but they’re also uninspired and uninspiring after a few months. Worst of all, they don’t involve any books!

We book nerds need goals that appeal to our literary sensibilities, and we need resolutions that address our idiosyncratic readerly ways. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions just for book nerds. If you recognize yourself in any of these, maybe it’s time to become a new and improved book nerd in 2016!

  1. I will stop losing bookmarks.
  2. I will keep my “all-nighters to read a book from cover to cover” down to once a week.
  3. I will do things other than read on weekends. Things like interact with other humans, eat things other than cereal, absorb sunlight, and appreciate trees.
  4. I will give people who don’t read a chance. Maybe.
  5. I will conquer the 100 greatest novels of all time.
  6. I will choose a literary prize and read every book that has ever won that prize.
  7. I will be faithful to one book club, instead of joining five different ones and just reading whatever I want. Read more…

The Life of a Cultural Historian November 25, 2015

English Literature Professor Manfred Weidhorn Reflects on 52 Year Career at Yeshiva University

Since 1963, Yeshiva University students looking for an engaging encounter with English literature have been able to find courses taught by Dr. Manfred Weidhorn, the Abraham and Irene Guterman Chair in English Literature and professor emeritus of English, on the roster.

20151119_Manfred_Weidhorn_020An immigrant from Vienna who earned his PhD in English at Columbia University, Weidhorn is a prolific scholar and writer whose works include a dozen non-fiction books and over a hundreds essays on Shakespeare, Milton, Winston Churchill, Galileo, literary themes, cultural history, and the relationship between religion and science, in addition to young adult biographies of Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, and Jackie Robinson. At Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, he has taught classes on topics that range from the Russian short novel to the Scientific Revolution and everything in between, encouraging students to approach each topic in new and sometimes unconventional ways.

Read more…

The Long(ish) Read: Walter Benjamin Unpacking his Library

Walter Benjamin in Paris. Image © Gisèle Freund

Welcome to The Long(ish) Read: a new AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists which resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in 1931, Walter Benjamin narrates the process of unpacking his library. All in boxes, he takes the reader through elements of his book collection: the memories attached to them, the importance he placed on the act of ‘collecting’ and the process of accumulation, and how objects like books inhabit a space.

Walter Benjamin in brief

Born in Germany in 1892, Benjamin was known as a ‘man of letters’. Having been educated in Switzerland he had a short career in the lead up to the Second World War, which saw him carve a niche as a literary critic. In the 1930s he turned to Marxism, partly due to the influence of Bertolt Brecht and partly due to the rise of extreme right-wing politics in Europe. He spent much of his professional life in Paris, where he wrote this essay. Benjamin died in 1940 having committed suicide at the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape the Nazis. Read more...

Marian the Cybrarian – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Brian Taylor

For all the concern expressed about the imminent demise of the college library, there may never have been a time when librarians seemed more vital, forward-thinking—even edgy—than they do now.

It’s a dated reference, but today’s information professionals often remind me more of Ian Malcolm, the “chaos theorist” played by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (1993), than of the eyeglass-chain-wearing librarians of yore, if they ever existed in significant numbers. (I have seen only one, Mrs. Evelyn, from my elementary school in the early 70s.)

It’s not that many of today’s librarians routinely dress in sunglasses and black leather (though some do). It’s that, more than any other class of professionals in higher education, librarians possess a comprehensive understanding of the scholarly ecosystem. They know what’s going on across the disciplines, among professors and administrators as well as students. No less important, they are often the most informed people when it comes to technological change—its limits as well as its advantages. Read more…

 

So You Think You Want to Be a Librarian?

Most people’s knowledge of librarianship is a mash-up of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Desk Set, some warm and fuzzy memories from an elementary school class visit, Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even fuzzier memories of all-nighters in their college libraries, and maybe a high-minded article or two about the Digital Public Library of America.

If this sounds familiar, don’t be embarrassed. Librarianship is a notoriously opaque profession, and most Americans have about as much understanding of what we do as they have of cloistered nuns, or actuaries.

Here’s the first shocker: most professional-level library positions require a masters in library or information science, most commonly known as “the M.L.S.” Since the M.L.S. involves a serious commitment of time and money, then you better be doubly sure that this is the right decision, at least for the next decade or two. Read more…

 

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