Posts Tagged ‘language’

Funding cuts for libraries have become an ugly reality here in the US, but as much as this is an unhappy situation, the US is still better off than large segments of the world population.  The US can be seen as the ‘gold standard’ of library service; we have multiple library schools, public libraries are prevalent, most schools have libraries and academic libraries are still vast fonts of and for information.  What happens when literacy is present, as in the US, but there is a conflict between the spoken language and the language of education?  Are smaller languages able to support significant publishing to create a body of work in the target language?  Academic libraries seem to be present and functioning in many if not most countries although language can be an issue with a global trend towards English language works.  Academic libraries can expect, realistically or not, that as students have risen through the ranks of education that they will have acquired sufficient English to follow reference and textbooks in English.  The same cannot be said of young children, who are beginning to read, especially if they are the first generation to be text literate.  How do public libraries in countries with more than one language handle this?

I am a Reader.  I read books, magazines, newspapers, and the backs of cereal boxes when all else fails.  I am a consumer of words, spoken, written, good, bad, absurd and everything in between.  This is my small attempt to put ideas (words) inspired by things I have read, seen, imagined or been curious about in some form and share some of my enthusiasm with you (presumably) another Reader.

So what, as a Reader, am I currently reading?  Hmmmn…

I am wading through The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt.  The title, and yes, I confess, the dragonfly design on the cover caught my attention, and the flyleaf promised a rich tale.  A dainty tome, at 675 pages, it is indeed rich in period details, as well as rich in characters.  We are introduced first to three boys, but are soon plunged into the lives of their families, which then expand to the families social and political acquaintances.  It is not a swift read, either in pages or in events.  The characters are complex, and so are the intertwined storylines.  It would go better if I hadn’t started reading it on break at work, but … there it is.  I haven’t finished, only half-way so far, so no final verdict.

I picked up Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France; Historical geography from the Revolution to the First World War as I was sorting books at the library.  I am a confirmed Francophile. I love this book, it talks about the people of what is now France and how separate they were, even from village to village.  I am fascinated with the linguistic variety and how recently French was not the major language.  Time to move the Breton and Basque language learning back on the to-do list.  I want to go back!

I picked up Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality Taste & Style by Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney.  I picked it up for my daughter, who loves Tim Gunn, but wound up skimming it myself.  Who, it asks, are you (clothing/presentation-wise)?  My closet would give anyone a headache.  Now all I need to do is decide what style I want to project – I have everything from crisp, tailored professional to fringe, tie-dye and Ren wear, not to mention lots of t-shirts, jeans and sweatshirts.  Lots of good food for thought, and he/they isn’t advocating breaking the bank or starting from scratch.  Go, Tim!

Today’s picks (I can’t walk into the library without walking out with a book):

The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark; a mysterious book, a rescued orphan being taught the secrets of the table by a chef.  It sounds like great fun.

I had a wait, and I found Rosemary Rowe’s Requiem for a Slave.  It’s part of a series, a Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain.  History is another interest of mine, and Roman-era Britain intrigues me.

Lastly, I recently read a sweet picture book to my (19-year old) daughter.  Adèle and Simon, by Barbara McClintock is a lovely picture book, with repetitive text.  Adèle has to fetch her little brother, Simon from school, but he looses pieces all the way home.  We are treated to views of iconic places in Paris, where Pierre manages to loose items.  Waldo-like, you can find his assorted pieces hidden in the pictures.  And for every child who has stressed about loosing things, they all appear at the door at the end of the book.

A bientôt!