Wednesday, November 19, 2014
How Not to Recommend a Book
I don't know what it is about this week, but we have been busy in the school library. More and more kids are asking me for book recommendations. I've vowed to become more familiar with the middle-school fiction by reading (or at least skimming) selected books. (This after I recommended a harmless-looking book called "The Winter Pony" -- we have five copies and I thought, "Well, if we bought that many it must be good!" -- but only later heard from a fellow librarian that it's about horses that go to Antarctica on an expedition and get eaten by the explorers. Fortunately the girl who checked it out got bored and returned it before she got very far.)
I really need to know more about what I'm recommending.
Kids are so funny. Yesterday a 5th grade girl came in and wanted a book. Not too long, she said, because if it was too long she'd get bored and want to quit and her mother would nag at her for not being persistent. And it had to be a mystery, preferably a sad mystery, and it would be nice if it were told from the perspectives of two different people.
Well, good grief! I felt like telling the girl she may need to write that book.
I and another librarian came up with at least six recommendations for this girl, and she eventually left with a book and a desultory expression. About an hour later she plunked the book into the return bin. So I guess we failed. Sigh.
I seriously wish kids would be a bit more open-minded and just try new types of books, rather than wanting the same sorts of stories and characters over and over. I wonder if that attitude is a byproduct of so many books coming in series these days.
Our last faculty/staff choir rehearsal, before our performance tomorrow, was yesterday. I don't think I will stick with singing after this performance. I'm in over my head with harmonics and whatnot -- I can't really read the music so I sing what the people next to me are singing, and I'm good at picking that up quickly, but I still feel like I'm flailing around a bit. Besides, the schedule is too disruptive. I have to switch shifts with my coworker in order to accommodate rehearsals, and that's not really fair to her. It's been a fun learning experience, though.
Finally, I am still trying to kick off the additional work I've pledged to do for Bleeding London. Argh! There's a lot going on.
(Photos: A groovy van in Neasden, Northwest London.)