Thursday, May 28, 2009

Library Thing is cool

I love my new LIBRARY THING widget! (see lower right of blog) I'm afraid I got very obsessive, and easily composed my 200-book list with nary a second thought. They allow listings of 200 books per free account; you can pay a premium to list your entire library. (PS: That's another thing that happens when you get old--I figure I've read thousands and thousands of books by now.)

You can match the widget to your blog colors and craft it to show however-many-books-you-want per page load. (Any more than 9 at a time seems to make the covers virtually microscopic, and that's no fun.) What's neat about LIBRARY THING is, if you are poor, you can change the book-display to a nicer cover, and no one will know you read it second-hand for 10 cents. Then again, some of the new covers are shit, and you can also keep the old ones if you like them better. (I also chose at least one cover of a foreign translation, since I thought it was prettier and showed up better on the widget.)

I didn't know if I should list books that changed my life, or just books I love since I eat up certain scandals like ice cream, or what. So, I went in several directions at once, and tried to make my list fairly representative. However, some aspects of my identity got decidedly short shrift; I think there is only ONE vegetarian book listed ((guilt)) and that is probably because it's the official cookbook of Michael Stipe's restaurant. Since this is ostensibly a feminist blog, I listed several now-forgotten Second-wave feminist books that I think are terrific, as well as important. I tried hard to keep the celebrity bios to a minimum, but sometimes, you simply must include certain people.

Library Thing also lists other members with your books in their catalogues. I have already noticed there is significant overlap in various cult-followings, particularly those of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson and J.G. Ballard (RIP, dearest one!) and I find this fascinating; I am trying to figure out why and how these writers' sensibilities are similar...or are the READERS the people who are similar, and our attraction to these writers ideas is about US, not them?

Some books have a mere 6 followers*, and some, of course, have followers numbering in the thousands. I have not yet reviewed books or participated in any of the conversations, but I hope to do so at some point. Right now, mere escapism. (I haven't had as much time to myself since one of my co-workers decided to walk off the job and I have taken up the slack.)

It's lots of fun to browse old books in musty second-hand bookstores and public libraries, and it's fun online, too.


*Nan Goldin's I'll be your mirror is also reviewed here.


CrackerLilo said...

Interesting little widget, except some of my choices have been a bit questionable lately. Love the idea of using a nicer virtual cover--I get most of my books at library cut-out and store clearance sales!

Renee said...

I love used book stores. You can find some real gems there are such a discounted price. If you build a relationship with an owner they will sometimes hold hard to find titles for you as well.

I also cannot say enough about the library. So many take it for granted and yet it is one of the few places where one can still get educated for free! When I hear of library funding cutback I see it as an attack by the elite to ensue a docile populace.

SnowdropExplodes said...

I love my Library Thing - it throws out some odd combinations sometimes (I've put all the books I have in there, because I won't self-censor, so it has all my erotic fiction alongside all my feminist theory and religious reading matter).

Second-hand bookshops, charity shop books, anywhere I can get books cheaply, I will. Hell, when I worked in a charity shop and discovered they would throw away books just because they looked "too tatty", I would go diving in the bin to rescue as many as I could!

Libraries are great, too, and have an important role in the educational development of my family from way back.