Saturday, January 2, 2010

Daily Thoughts 1/2/2009

Russian writer and Nobel prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn looks out from a train, in Vladivostok, summer 1994, before departing on a journey across Russia. Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after nearly 20 years in exile. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev, 1994, Gnu Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Daily Thoughts 1/2/2009

I am reading In The First Circle, The First Uncensored Edition by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is the first posthumous book after his death in 2008. So far, the writing is entertaining and extremely well crafted. The title, The First Circle, refers to Dante Alighieri's first circle in hell where virtuous pagans are sent when the die in his book Inferno. Most of the action occurs in a sharaska, a minimum security prison in Russia.

Today is a day to work on the displays. I put up a new display of books which we have in storage for horror genre books. I picked out some titles by Robert Bloch, Graham Masterton, Kim Newman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and H.P. Lovecraft. I also added the complete short stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Horror is very popular. More popular than science fiction in the library I work in.

We also put up a display of books and videos on African American leaders. We might also add some audiobooks to make the display truly multimedia.

Right now, I am also going to update the current events and people in the news display. I went through and updated the lobby display for gardening and added a few books to the oversize art books in the display cases in our gallery. We have a small art gallery supported by a local arts organization in our library.

Some more books came in for me to read, I now have a few more books added to my to read pile; Usagi Yojimbo Yokai by Stan Sakai. This is one of my favorite comics, it is a furry samurai comic book. The main character is based on Musashi and is an anthropomorphic rabbit. There is a lot of fighting and many mythical creatures from Japan as well as ninjas, samurais, thieves, gamblers, and outlaws of various persuasions in the stories. The next book is Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford, Jane Austen as a modern day vampire. The last one is The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part II from Bastille to Baghdad by Larry Gonick. I enjoyed his previous books on ancient history, The Cartoon History of the Universe, Parts I, II, and III.

I am preparing for the next graphic novels club which is on January 25, 2009. I am hoping to focus on Watchmen and other comics by Alan Moore.

I just put in my new day by day desk calendar and threw out the old one. It is one of the first things to do during the new year.

Having read some more of The First Circle, I am beginning to realize that this will take me quite a while to read. It has the depth of thought and feeling of the great russian novels like Crime and Punishment. There is a strong sense of ironic realism. This includes a lot of philosophical ground which is already starting to reveal itself; Dante, Goethe, Lenin, Stalin, mathematics, liberalism, nazism, totalitarianism, communism, the secret police are only a few subjects that the novel has touched on in the first fifty pages.

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