"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Luke Skywalker and the Bookmobile

Back in the seventies when I was in grade school and living in Salt Lake City, my dad built a house on an empty lot up the eastern slope on Wasatch Boulevard. It had a great view to the west across the Salt Lake Valley, from the Great Salt Lake in the north to the Great Land Scar of the Kennecott Copper Mine in the south. I would sit for hours (at least it seemed that way in my innocence) and watch the sun set and the city lights blink on.

My other favorite memory of that house was that the Bookmobile would come round and park itself directly across the street. An itinerant extension of the Salt Lake City library system, this was a large, square bus lined inside with shelves and shelves of books. I would spend hours (at least it seemed that way in my innocence) pacing back and forth, discovering books to read. One that I remember vividly is the classic Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. This was supposed to be a sequel to the first Star Wars movie, so it weirded me out when the next movie was called something like The Umpire Calls a Strike (bad joke?). Alan Dean Foster wrote Splinter, which I guess is a bit like getting Terry Brooks to write the novelization of Episode I. All I remember about it, though, is being disappointed that Han Solo and Chewy were not in it.

I miss the Bookmobile. I can't imagine what kind of a reader I would be today without it, and without libraries in general. Today, no Bookmobiles, and libraries are scarce. The very Mission Viejo branch of the Aurora Public Libraries where I accidentally found and fell in love with Ender's Game in 1986 closed last year due to budget cuts. It's sad. How is my son going to encounter his own beloved books if there is no library to wander around in?

Awkward segue...

I have this fancy widget on my page here called Shelfari, thanks to help from Debbie of the blog Debbie's Inkspectations. Shelfari is "a community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers." All that means to me is it's a place to keep track of the books I've read and write reviews. I've wanted to to this for years; it's also the kind of thing I ask my students to do on a minuscule basis throughout the year. But until now, I haven't had the wherewithal to realize my vision. And along comes Shelfari.

That's enough advertising. What I like is the simple fact that there's a little bookshelf on the page (scroll down, look right) that allows readers of my blog to see what I'm reading. I like that the books are presented so you can view the cover and quickly note what each book is. Right now I've included nine books or so that I've read recently and they're presented in alphabetical order by author. (I know that probably doesn't matter to any of you, but you should see how alphabetized my CD collection is.) If you run your cursor over the book cover, up pops a swell short review that I came up with all by myself. The balloon window says you should be able to respond to my review through Shelfari, but I haven't figured out if that works. I would rather you just comment on my blog page anyway, so feel free to comment on my reviews and tell us what you like to read.

I've decided it's part of the experience. If you're going to read about my son's belly button (see post "Back is Best"), then you might want to know more about me. Or not. That's okay. But if you're interested in books, looking for something good to read, I have some recommendations. I probably won't be putting books on the shelf that I don't really like. As I read in Charlie's blogger profile from Notice Your World, he says something to the effect of why would he read a book if he didn't like it.

I hope this isn't a disappointing blog post. Not my usual hilarity or even cute baby pictures, to be sure. But I'm new to the blogosphere and wanted people to know why I have the Shelfari on my blog. Forgive me if this is old hat. If there are better ways of doing this, please enlighten me. Also, if anyone knows of widgets that do this same sort of thing with music, movies, television, I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.


  1. A link back to me on your blog! Thank you. I also found Enders Game in 1986. By found I mean my older brother shoved it into my eight year old hands and said "Read this. It's good." I have never been the same since.
    Funny Stuff I Write And Draw

  2. I don't think I read Ender's Game until college when someone told me that Orson Scott Card was a Mormon. But apparently reading it at age 16 is the thing to do. Maybe your next blog should be a love letter to your daughter who is the right age to fall in love with Ender's Game but for some reason has an aversion to it.

  3. Wind Up Bird Chronicles is money. Have you read any Chuck Klosterman books? They seem like they would be up your alley.

  4. @ Johnny: I haven't written a Shelfari review for it yet, but I have to say I loved Wind-Up Bird. Totally surreal, beautiful language. The ending, though...not satisfying.
    And I've heard of Klosterman, but not read him. He seems kinda like an American Nick Hornby. Am I wrong?

  5. Yeah, he's kind of like Nick Hornby. If you get a chance, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is a great read. They are all non-fiction essays.

  6. I haven't read Ender's Game, but it's one of his I really do want to get to. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  7. I love your bookshelf! I totally stole it from you and made one of my own. Don't worry, I'll give you credit for it.

  8. hey Brent I gave you the stylish blogger award, come claim it! =0)

  9. Thanks Johnny. I got a copy of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and it really is my cup of tea. Thanks for the recommendation.

    And, Angela, don't put it off any longer. Your world will change by reading Ender's Game. Not to build it up too much...