Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Bibliophile Christmas

To the left is a picture of the books I got for Christmas.

It was a good year! Some graphic novels (Rex Libris, Chicken with Plums, The Squirrel Mother), a manga (Hibiki's Magic), a cookbook (Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking), professional reading (Children & Libraries: Getting it Right, Judaica Reference Sources, Graphic Novels in Your Media Center) and some fun things (Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief) and some novels (The Italian Lover, The Diary of Dora Damage). And some other things too.

Yesterday in between opening gifts, eating and socializing, the book I spent the most time with was Judaica Reference Sources, by Charles Cutter, published in 2004 and given to me by my in-laws. It is an extended bibliography of mainly scholarly reference sources but it lists all kinds of things. Did you know that there was a volume out there called the Yiddish Anarchist Bibliography, cataloging memoirs, propaganda and other writings by Yiddish anarchists? I did not. Yet here it is. Need a dictionary of Old French words used in Rashi's commentaries with their Hebrew equivalents, with Latinate and Hebrew spellings? Only look here. And there are more mundane (but potentially valuable as additions to the right kind of library) things like dictionaries of biography, atlases, genealogical sources- all kinds of stuff. I couldn't put this book down yesterday and every few minutes I would interrupt my husband's cribbage game with, "oh look at this!", "oh check this out!".

The book has been lauded by the Association of Jewish Libraries as a great source of information for librarians and it seems pretty terrific but I have two little complaints. First, I wish the author had included ISBNs with the listings- it would be much easier to search Amazon and add things to my temple's wish list because sometimes Amazon does not list things intuitively or helpfully. Secondly I wish the language of the work was included. Oh I know, in most cases it's pretty intuitive- if the title's in French, probably the book is too. And if I can't figure out the language from the title, then the answer is "some language I do not recognize." But it would help me out just that extra little bit. Otherwise it's fantastic.

Weirdest present? The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson. I only became acquainted with the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Pastafarianism (the religion of the FSM) recently through some web search. I know he's been around for a while. The Gospel is the FSM's Bible. Basically the FSM is a spoof by a comedian wanting to make a point about the debate on whether or not to teach Intelligent Design alongside or in place of Evolution because Evolution is essentially unprovable despite being a very credible theory with a lot of scientific backing. Intelligent Design is also unprovable but has no scientific backing so if you're going to teach ID alongside Evolution, why not also teach that the universe was created by a being made of pasta? At least I think that's the idea.

I am such a nerd. But I had a great Christmas.

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