Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lesson Learned

Monday night my computer’s hard drive died. It was a quiet death but not without some warning. Which I failed to heed.

Tonight, Wednesday, my poor dead computer is over at the local Mac store where it sits quietly awaiting morning. In the meantime, I am chewing nails more furiously than I have in a long time and trying not to curse myself into oblivion.

What this might mean for BiblioBuffet readers is no new issue next week. But I am not sure at this point. We will keep you apprised. Thank you for hanging in there with us.

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Issue of September 25, 2011

It is no doubt fully autumn in most parts of the country, and no doubt part of the changes we make, along with digging out warmer clothes and wool blankets, is curling up in a favorite reading spot with a good book. And we’ve got some good ideas for that.

Pete Croatto re-visits the former columnist who made headlines when his views on an international incident made headlines and finds that the man behind the words is still as acerbic as ever but also more complex, sensitive, and human than he was made out to be at the time in The Hard Thing is the Right Thing: An Interview with Paul Shirley.

Two new books from two different publishers, both about “young Jewish girls who live in lands new to them, brought there by difficult circumstances and by religious do-gooders,” and both distressing and compelling, are the focus of Gillian Polack’s interest this week in Two Books.

As Carl Rollyson works with his publisher on the conversion of his latest manuscript into his newest book, he explores in What’s in a Title the reasoning behind his choice of a title, and why that choice was dropped in favor of a new title that better incorporated the enigma, heroism, and humanism of his subject.

Banned Books Week runs until October 1, and this time is not so much a celebration of the power of reading but of the perception some people have of its danger—and of their determination to impose their views on others. Lauren Roberts reminisces about the route this country seems to be on, and how BBW fits into that in Read ‘Em and Weep Learn.


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Issue of September 18, 2011

Here in Santa Barbara, California, I am relieved that it appears unlikely to be one of those horrid Septembers (and Octobers and possibly Novembers) with temperatures more suited to bathing suits than sweaters. We’re not quite at the sweater stage yet, but it’s coming. And I, for one, am rejoicing. Books always feel just a bit cozy to me, as if they mix better with boeuf bourguignon than gazpacho. Plus, the holidays are coming, which ramps up my excitement level. I begin to look through magazines for recipes and decorating ideas even though I am pretty much set for menus for the two big days.

But we have a bit of time to go before that so with books and reading in mind I encourage you to check out all our columns this week. Perhaps you’ll get some ideas of things to do, evaluate, and even win (hint: bookmarks). Have a great week!

A message board question about why she keeps books she’s read, and, even more, what drives her to hold on to a book, was the opportunity for Nicki Leone post a caffeine-fueled series of quirky responses. But she used that as a springboard for a more in-depth exploration of why she really does accumulate books at a brisk pace in My Cabinet of Curiosities.

When you’re writing a memoir and striving for accuracy, how do you find it?  Especially if your memory of events is very different from what your family remembers? Lev Raphael explores a traumatic event in his family and how it’s been talked about and recalled by himself, his brother, and his mother in Family Mysteries.

Less than a week away is the annual Banned Books Week celebration. Or memorial. Lauren Roberts leads off with a look at some books we’ve probably all read—and had the opportunity to read—in Coming to a Bookstore Near You. Maybe.

“What is it that drives us to choose our long-term partners and, more importantly, what keeps us with them, especially if it turns out they disappoint us?” asks Katherine Hauswirth as explores two books, one memoir, one fiction, that look at the roles partners assume in relationships in Lost Light: Words from the Overshadowed.

When artists turn their creative eye (and hands) to bookmarks, the result is often extraordinary. In Bookmarks IX: Infiltrating the Library System, Laine Farley describes the individual take each artist brought to her or his project and found that even though many of the bookmarks can be set into general themes they are indeed unique and wonderful. (BiblioBuffet is giving away a number of these bookmarks; details can be found in the article.)

Lauren Roberts encourages BiblioBuffet’s readers to get away from their computers (after reading our columns, of course), and to renew their acquaintanceship with their selves through a book in Title to be Forthcoming.

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Issue of September 11, 2011

Powerful, wonderful, insightful. Our columns this week will probably hit you in several ways. And that’s what we intend.

The date of 9/11 has poignant emotions attached to it. But not just for Americans. Lauren Roberts shares an essay she found that addresses another country’s history important enough for us to remember and to respect in Remembering.

Can a passionate book lover find happiness in the e-world? Pete Croatto had the opportunity to do just that when an e-reader wrapped up as a wedding gift came into his life recently, an experience he shares with mixed feelings in An Act of Kindleness.

In The Secret Confluence of Books, Gillian Polack talks about books in context, that is, “what makes us collect words together in so many ways and why this type of meaning—books on shelves—is so very important to us.”

When he chose to take time off from writing biographies, Carl Rollyson had as his reason—he was worn out. Not surprisingly. Seven subjects in seven years. His respite included reviewing the genre. In other words, he loves biographies and tells why in more detail in From Picking a Subject to Pontificating on Subjects.

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Issue of September 4, 2011

We at BiblioBuffet hope you have/had a great Labor Day weekend. Regardless of what you chose to do, reading surely was among the activities. Right?

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 coming up and with Nicki Leone being out of town for about ten days we decided to re-run one of her most dramatic columns, Voice from the Past . . . My Own. This solemn reminiscence, complete with the short audio program it is built on, is not only a powerful memory of terrible events but of the subsequent joy she found in life afterward.

In an interview with Lauren Roberts, a long-time and passionate bookmark collector shares not only part of his collection but his story about how his passion for this type of ephemera came about in Bookmarking a Life: Meet Don Baldwin.

In her inaugural column, Katherine Hauswirth uses two novels to explore the dark shadows that can “hover over those close to a murder of disappearance,” and how the human spirit can discover some goodness out of such devastation in Requiem for the Lost.

When, in an attempt to be a fair and ethical journalist, one is  subjected to “filth” in the name of information, what can be done? One man made a choice, and Lauren Roberts was so taken with his expression of what she has been feeling that she asked to share it. He agreed: Those  Small Momentous Decisions.

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