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Librarian Blog

My favorite book of the year

My leisure reading runs mainly to nonfiction, and the year 2016 has been a banner year for one of my favorite topics, World War II.
In fact, I just finished the newest book about Pearl Harbor right before the 75th anniversary of the event. Fortunately or unfortunately, after I read it I was in no mood to fall for promotions for TV specials promising to expose the truth about who knew what when. I knew definitively who knew what when.
Still, I do read fiction, although it must come highly recommended and well reviewed.
And I look for good reviews of works of fiction so I can read more novels.
I was a little startled here a couple of weeks ago to read a review about a new work of fiction from a Texas author with the reviewer complaining about getting all the way to the end of the book with nothing else to do but start the book all over again and read it through.
I have just finished reading that book. I won't read it again. But, I am surely glad I read it once because it is quite a wondeful work of fiction.
The book is "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles.
It's a slim volume. Won't take much of your time.
I think you'll believe, when you've finished it to the end, like I do that it's the best book you've read this year.

The world of Mad

All this discussion about fake news misses the point. Or several points.
Fake news is all the rage these days for people who say they are not in the fake news business.
They're upset that media-savvy folks are posting on Facebook and at other internet locales information that's patently but not clearly false.
One point they're missing is that consumers of news should be accustomed by now to the idea that not everything you find online is true and valid. I mean, the internet has been around for 25 years now. How long does it take?
The second point is that there is a long and storied tradition in English of something called "satire." It's not fake news; it's satire. So maybe a lot of satire is not very well done these days. But, still ...
I think one big problem is that too few people grew up reading Mad Magazine.
If you'd been an eager subscriber like I was when I was a kid, you'd know every form of satire in the book(s). And, dang it, you'd not be easily fooled.
Google "Alfred E. Newman." Beware: Don't believe a word he has to say.

Only now?

News flash!
This just in: A public library in San Diego was in the spotlight Thursday as it unveiled the city's first gender-neutral restroom inside a public facility.
Whoa, now!
Imagine a big city in California so behind the trend that it trails the Wimberley Village Library by years and years.
Yes, folks, we have two bathrooms. Both are gender neutral and always have been.
I came here from Wichita Falls where the library bathrooms were gender-neutral, and that was more than a decade ago.
I'm sure there'll be folks in California who won't like what the library in San Diego is doing. They'll conjure up the spector of all kinds of boogeymen. They'll raise heck.
And that'll make them sound just a whole lot behinder than they already sound as johnny-come-latelies on this particular issue.

Whence the demand?

What's the hottest job in 2017 in terms of increased demand?
I'm going to tell you, because you'll never guess it.
According to The Economist's outlook for the new year, demand will grow by 108 percent for wind turbin service techs.
That's right: Demand will go from the desire to hire -- what? -- six techs to the desire to hire 12?
So, no, I wouldn't suggest you search out courses on Coursera or at Khan Academy so you can brush up on your whopping-electric-motors certification.
Instead, at a more practical level, you might want to hurry up and get into a physical or occupational therapy program, not for the health benefits but for the vocational benefits. Seems that demand for occupational therapists will grow 43 percent and physical therapists 41 percent in 2017, The Economist predicts.
Interestingly enough, The Economist foresees big growth in the double digits in 15 fields, and fully 12 of them are related to people's health and well-being.
Not a single one, other than the wind turbine tech, relates to American industry.

Thanks for the shout-out

One subhead in the recent column by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen read was intriguing. It read: "Oils for constipation."
Intriguing, perhaps, but not as useful as far as librarians are concerned as this one in the same column: "Reading makes you healthier and happier."
The two docs pull data from several studies to prove the headline's point. By a variety of measures if you read a book -- as opposed to your Kindle or your Samsung 7 screen -- you're giving yourself something good for, well, for mental constipation.
Thanks, docs.
We needed that.
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