Tag Archives: library

Dangerous Books, Dangerous Libraries

Part II, chapter 7

Emma’s not doing well.  Leon is moving away, and she is depressed.  Charles writes to his mother, asking her to come.

–Do you know what your wife needs?  said Madame Bovary senior.  She needs some hard work, some manual labour.  If she were like nearly everyone else, forced to earn a living, she wouldn’t have these vapours of hers, which all come from stuffing her head with nonsense and leading a life of idleness.

–But she is always busy, said Charles.
–Ah!  Busy indeed!  And with what?  Busy reading novels, wicked books, things written against religion where priests are made a mockery with speeches taken from Voltaire.  It all leads to no good, my poor boy, and anyone with no religion always comes to a bad end.

Remember when our knight-errant Don Quixote had his personal library taken away by his friends and family?
Emma Bovary’s husband and mother-in-law must have read Cervantes because they take similar measures.

Therefore, it was decided to prevent Emma from reading novels.  This was by no means an easy matter.  The old lady took it upon herself: on her way through Rouen she was to call in person at the lending library and notify them that Emma was cancelling her subscription.  Would they not have the right to tell the police, if the librarian still persisted in his poisonous trade?

Librarians persist in poisonous trade?  And I thought they were just being helpful when they suggested new titles.  Oooo…This makes it seem dangerous to visit my public library.  Maybe they should capitalize on this idea.  Toxic Books: a summer reading program.  I can imagine how the circulation numbers will climb.  I know discouraging people to read has had the opposite effect at my house.

Think of the damage Emma Bovary could have done with a kindle.


Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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Good Grief! More Gulliver?

Look what I found.  No, it’s not the next title in the WEM list.  It’s a collection of classic stories Usborne has illustrated for children.  Check out the titles:

  • Robin Hood
  • Moonfleet
  • Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • The Canterville Ghost

and wait for it…

  • Gulliver’s Travels

See why I had to immediately put a library hold on this book?!

This version of Part 1 of Gulliver’s Travels was retold by Gill Harvey and illustrated by Peter Dennis. 

Although some adaptations have been made, I think the story truer to Swift’s original than the pop-up book.

Gulliver is transported on a wooden cart to the capital city.


Gulliver's pockets are inspected for dangerous items.


The nobles compete in the game of "Leaping and Creeping".

 There are pages devoted to egg debate.  Of course Gulliver steals the naval vessals from the people of Blefescu.  There’s even an illustration of the fire that Gulliver puts out.
This version has him throwing water over the palace to save it. I prefer the change.
This version has Gulliver throwing “water over the palace to save it.”  That’s a small change I prefer.  One detail the storyteller did not change is how the nobles want to kill Gulliver or at least blind him at the end of Part 1.  Don’t worry.  Just like in Swift’s version, Gulliver escapes in a boat and is rescued by people his own size.
I like the Usborne version of Gulliver’s Travels, and I can’t wait until the library informs me that my next hold is ready for pickup.

Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Gulliver's Travels


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Mr. Collins would not approve…

We are in trouble now!


…of libraries, Susan Wise Bauer, or this very blog!   When he visits the Bennets, they are searching for evening entertainment and ask him to read aloud to the ladies:

“Mr. Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but on beholding it, (for everything announced it to be from a circulating library,) he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he never read novels.   Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons…”

Sorry, Mr. Collins.  You don’t know what you are missing!    I’ve listened to some wonderful sermons in my day and have nothing against them, but I will also find a place for novels, the library, AND this blog.  So there!


Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Pride and Prejudice


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Bring and Brag

What?  Did your school call it “Show and Tell”? 

Well, class, look what I have to show you today.  In two quick trips to the library last week, I was able to purchase these beauties off the “Friends of the Library” used book shelf. 

Oh, you don’t go to the library twice a week?  Really?  You should.

I got seven titles from our WEM list for the grand total of $6.87.  Yea!  I think that’s a total that would make Jeannette proud.


Posted by on October 8, 2011 in The Blog, Well-Educated Mind


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