Monday, February 27, 2017
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Holman, Hugh. Up This Crooked Way: a Sheriff Macready Detective Story (New York: M.S. Mill, 1946) 211 p.
Jacqueline Dean is a pretty, young reference librarian at Abeton College in South Carolina. When a murder is committed at Jackie's rooming house she must account for her actions to the Sheriff. Fortunately she and Sheriff Macready are already acquainted because he often comes to the college library to read books on various topics. It also turns out he can quote Chaucer from memory.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Hoffman, Alice. The Ice Queen (New York: Back Bay Books, 2006) 211 p.
A New Jersey librarian is emotionally distant and obsessed with death. She moves to Florida and gets a job at the Orlon Public Library, a bleak underused and underfunded institution with few books and no computers. Here she assists the aging head librarian Frances York.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Hodson, James Lansdale. Harvest in the North (New York: Knopf, 1934) 432 p.
Henry Brierley is assistant librarian in Chesterford, Lancashire, England. He has a “finely drawn” face, “eyes so dark as to be almost black, and by turns dreamy or smoldering, an irregular nose too long, finely curved lips rather too full and sensuous, and ears slightly prominent and large. His hair was thick and unruly, his hands long and thin and like those of a fiddler.” (p. 58). He uses £200 of library funds to make a personal investment which pays off. Later he resigns to try his hand as a playwright.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Hodgkin, M.R. Student Body (New York: Scribner's, 1949) 226 p.
Caradoc College is stunned when a student falls to his death from a railroad trestle. There's mysterious work afoot in the library as well. Someone has been writing incriminating notes in the margins of library books. Blackmail notes in various well-known handwriting are turning up in library carrel drawers. The librarian is Miss P. Cecily, known to all as Cecily Parsley. "She was a forbidding, book-mad spinster ..." but alas a very minor character in this story. There is a suspenseful scene in the darkened stacks on p. 172: "But if I were the murderer--"
He took another step forward, and as he did so one of the fire doors far away in the distance opened, a loud cheerful assistant's voice roared a perfunctory "Everyone out?" and with a click of the master switch all the lights in the stacks went out.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Hodges, Hollis. Norman Rockwell’s Greatest Painting (Middlebury, Vt.: Paul S. Eriksson, 1988) 261 p.
Mary Ostrowski is a retired librarian in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She is “sixty-three years old, sort of short, slender, medium-length dark gray hair with a few lines of black running through it....” (p. 29) Mary finds a book of advice for older single people in a secondhand book store. She follows the advice and meets a nice older man.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Hinton, Lynne. The Order of Things (New York: St. Martin's Press, c2009) 225 p.
Andreas Jay Hackett loves being a librarian.
I love the system of numbers and titles, stacks of books all related by subject matter or fiction genre. I love knowing that if I learn the files, understand the rational method of where to put books on a shelf, that I can find any piece of literature in any library in any town in America. There's power in that kind of knowledge and I appreciate the magnitude of what I know. I love the Dewey decimal system with its classification rules and the simple ways to categorize. I love knowing that I am operating in the most widely used library classification system and that I can go anywhere and be an expert on how to find things. There is great comfort in that especially when I feel so lost from myself.
Even before I became a librarian, I felt at home in the quiet rooms surrounded by the bound pages of history and science, by the written biographies of explorers and adventurers. I have always loved the smell of leather bindings, the feel of paper between a finger and thumb, the crinkle of the page as it turns, the easy way life falls open from a book. As a child if I was missing, my mother always knew where to find me. I was always in the library. Later, as an adult, once I unlocked the secrets in the library and gained the knowledge that I can find any answer somebody needs, I felt a great pride in my work. After all, I have a real gift for reference work and I'm confident that everybody I work with would agree with that statement.
“Go ask Andy,” the other librarians would say to the researching student. “She'll know.” And they were right. I usually did. (p. 37-38).
And then Andy checked herself into a psychiatric hospital.