Tag Archives: interlibrary loan

Staff Picks: You Learn by Living

Available through Interlibrary Loan

You Learn By Living by Eleanor RooseveltAlthough my bookcase at home is loaded with new books asking to be read, and despite the wonderful new books that Brown Library has added to its collection this year, I recently went “old school” and picked up a book first published in 1960: You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt. After reading it, I now understand why Mrs. Roosevelt is revered for her work as a diplomat, humanitarian, and activist.

In You Learn by Living, Mrs. Roosevelt shares details from her life, such as being orphaned at an early age, attending boarding school in London, and marrying her distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States. What is striking about the book, however, is the common sense advice and sound ideas written almost fifty years ago, yet still so relevant today. For example, check out one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Never, perhaps, have any of us needed as much as we do today to use all the curiosity we have, needed to seek new knowledge, needed to realize that no knowledge is terminal. For almost everything in our world is new, startlingly new. None of us can afford to stop learning or to check our curiosity about new things, or to lose our humility in the face of new situations.”

Doesn’t this quote sound like something you would read in a magazine or textbook published today?

With timeless themes of responsibility, initiative, hard work, and making good choices, this book has become one of my favorites.

Phonographs—Boom Boxes—Cd Players—iPods

Bustles—Zoot Suits—”Members Only” Jackets—Hoodies

Common Sense—Never goes out of style.

——Lynn Hancock Hurt, Technical Services Librarian

Staff Picks: Barrel Fever

Available through Interlibrary Loan

Barrel Fever by Dave SedarisThere is usually a gap between what I read and what I aspire to read. I just finished a long story called “The Santaland Diaries,” from a book by Dave Sedaris called Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays. “The Santaland Diaries” is an hilarious and unsentimental description of Sedaris’ stint as a Christmas elf at Macy’s in New York City, a job he took to support himself while he was still an unknown writer. I am reading Sedaris at the insistence of a friend, who lent me her copy of Barrel Fever. I am glad she did, because he is a very funny writer, sort of the next generation’s answer to Woody Allen.

So, what do I aspire to read? The answer is “Paradise Lost,” which is generally thought of as the greatest long poem in English. The occasion is that 2008 is the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton, who dictated “Paradise Lost” to his daughter after he went blind. Many years ago in college I had a professor who was an expert on Milton and his enthusiasm for this poem about God, Lucifer, Adam, and Eve was contagious. Now I intend to read the poem again (it’s as long as a book) and see if I can still appreciate it after all these years.

Yes, I will get around to “Paradise Lost” any day now, but first there are still some unread stories in Barrel Fever.   ——David Hillman, Library Director