Shea spends so much time in libraries that in his preface to the letter O he says he "developed a morbid fear that I am turning into one of the 'Library People'." As well he should be concerned because as he says "you can easily spot them by their noticeable lack of social skills." Any library worker reading this passage will nod knowingly. Most "Library People" are harmless, but they can be annoying when they leave their reading to come discuss some esoteric library issue with us, and don't seem to understand when we need to do other work. I will say this for Shea, he understands that not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. Most are not, in fact.
I lived in Tucson, Arizona in the early 1990s. Since then my favorite smell has been of the the Sonoran Desert after it rains. It is a beautifully sweet smell. I am so glad I read Shea's book as I now know this word: Petrichor - the pleasant loamy smell of rain on the ground especially after a long dry spell.
No notes on Q
Whenever I go to a Librarian conference I am sadly struck by how much we deserve our stereotype. Few are dressed well, and I have been to some deadly dull presentations. When Shea mentions that he decides to attend the diannual conference of the Dictionary Society of North America in Chicago as he is wrapping up "R" my first thought was "what must these people look like?" I get a partial answer to my question two pages later with this observation of Shea "The first thing I notice about my fellow attendees is that an alarmingly large number of them wear bow ties."
In a previous post I mention the word sequipedialian. I now also know the word "sequihoral" - lasting an hour and a half. I can't wait to use it.
U and V apparently didn't thrill me much.
I love to watch movies about librarians Having traveled to Transylvania, I also love movies about vampires. My two passions are brought together in Transylvania Twist. Just imagine the hilarity that ensues when a librarian's nephew travels to Transylvania to retrieve an overdue library book from a vampire. Anyway, one thing this sequihoral spoof features are "Wailers" - professional mourners who are paid to weep. I think in this movie they were called "rent a mourners". Another movie that brings together librarians and vampires is Blade.
Shea offers some advice on reading dictionaries as he begins the X section. He specifically mentions to "stay away from . . . dictionaries for students learning English as a Second Language. As a language teacher myself (have a mentioned yet that I am a Spanish instructor?) I would say this advice may be sound if you are a native English speaker, but if you are an ESL student these dictionaries are probably great. I discuss in an early post my own aborted attempt at reading a dictionary, but I do love to browse my Spanish-English dictionary for new words.