Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I think I understand what you thought you said

Or is it, I think I understand what you meant to say but what you said wasn't what you meant? According to a google search the quote in a slightly different form comes from Robert McCloskey who wrote and illustrated Make Way for Ducklings.
What made me think of this quote, however it goes, is that answering questions at the Reference Desk often fall into the category of, for lack of a better word, huh?
Case in point, quite often people ask for a book with a title and author that don't seem to exist and then say they just read the review in the New York Times Book Review. Usually I feel so flummoxed about not remembering what was in the latest NYT Book Review that I run over to grab said issue off the "stick." (What are those things called and aren't they weird?) But it turns out that people often confuse the title of the review and the review's author with the author and title being reviewed. Are you following here? I think the NYT should do something about this so patrons wouldn't feel silly and I wouldn't feel guilty. (Clarifying example: a review of Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey might be called Ducks Cause Traffic Problems in Boston, reviewed by Clack McQuack. You see how confusing that would be?)

Speaking of a perfect world, made exactly to my specifications, all of my book groups would be reading the same book at the same time. For one group I am reading Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth which is due to be discussed online sometime in September. I put off reading it until I could borrow a copy from a neighbor because I'm still pretty far down on the holds list at BHPL. The other day, peering out the tiny window of my front door, I noticed the screen door was ajar a bit. Upon opening the door I found Follet's mighty tome leaning against the screen and pushing the door outward. Not a good sign when you've only got a couple weeks to read a book. I leaned down to retrieve the book and it landed with a thump on the front porch. Nine hundred and something pages worth of resounding thump.

Related links:
Make Way for Ducklings parade in Boston with children dressed as ducks.
The World's Largest Book, no it's not Pillars of the Earth, it just seems that way.
Sculpture of Mother Duck and her ducklings in the Boston Common.
Why students should not pull an "all nighter" to study (or even to read Pillars of the Earth) a video of Mo Rocca at UNC
Wikipedia explains Gothic architecture
Wikipedia explains Pillars of the Earth in much less time than it takes to read it.

No comments: