Sunday, February 14, 2010

This Book is Overdue!

Literary agent Janet Reid's blog has an interesting post entitled "Another Book on the I Want to Read This List". In it, she discusses learning to talk about books in ways that will entice readers. The discussion revolves around Marilyn Johnson's book This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. Ms. Reid links to three different reviews of the book, and asks readers to comment on which review is most enticing--and why.

Personally, the review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune was the one that spoke to me. As a lifelong library user, a former library employee, and the wife of a library director, the topic interests me already. But the “librarians as our allies in navigating the information glut” angle was the hook that really got my attention. I found the other two reviews somewhat wearying--they seemed to be trying to fling too much of the book’s contents at me. The third was more focused; I could wrap my mind around it. I’m sure there’s far more to the book than the Minneapolis review discussed, but before I can assimilate all that, I have to be coaxed into picking it up and opening it, and this review accomplished that effectively. The next-to -the-last paragraph of the review, in which writer Kim Ode quotes a moving passage from This Book Is Overdue:, clinched my desire to read the book.

The review in the Boston Globe, to me, was the weakest. It seemed to ramble, and did not have a strong hook.


The Wall Street Journal review wasn't bad, but its first paragraph annoyed me with its "unsung heroes" approach. The media calls everyone a hero nowadays--the term has become so watered down, it's nearly lost its meaning. Now librarians are heroes, too. Ho hum. The choice of the "hero" angle irked me so much, I probably read the rest of the review more critically. In the third paragraph, the determined listing of librarians who don't fit the stereotype made me roll my eyes, and the fifth paragraph's statement, "Ms. Johnson succeeds in making us like librarians..." is just silly.

Check out Janet Reid's blog post, and weigh in with your thoughts.

And now I'm off to put in a request for the book at my local library!

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