Sunday Bulletin – February 3

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I had a bit of a frustrating week, mostly due to work issues. When you work with the public there just comes a time when you feel burned out, disappointed in humanity, impatient with complainers and tired of power trips. Every few months I suffer from all of the above and struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, feel deep ennui when I walk into the library and have to give myself pep talks about how I do believe I am doing a job that is valuable in my community and makes a difference in people’s lives. Still. I am so happy when the weekend comes!

Books finished this week:

Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship with Muriel Spark by Alan Taylor – Alan Taylor was friends with Spark for the last 17 years of her life. He visited her many times at her home in Italy, exchanged correspondence with her and even traveled with her and her friend Penny. This book is part bio of Spark’s very interesting life and partly Taylor’s own observations of the great writer and her choices and influences. Other than being a bit repetitive, it was really delightful. Spark was such a fascinating person and I enjoyed reading about her life and opinions.

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami – I’m not sure what drew me to this title, but I am glad I picked it up. It is set near Palm Desert in California and the story centers around the death of a Moroccan immigrant who is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Each chapter is told in the voice of a person who is affected by the crime: various members of his family, police officers, a man who witnessed the crime, etc. What I loved about it is that the characters are so well-drawn, so real and truthful. And I admired Lalami’s ability to have compassion for each of the characters and that she showed that fear and grief drive a lot of our hatred, bad choices and dysfunction. There are many “other Americans” in this book and their stories are beautifully told.

And now I am having trouble finding another book to read. I have started a few, most notably Normal People by Sally Rooney, but I am just not in the mood for anything. I’m hoping that something will catch fire today. Have a lovely week!

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6 thoughts on “Sunday Bulletin – February 3

  1. I haven’t heard of The Other Americans before, but it does sound interesting – and timely. I hope our library has a copy! And I hope you have a better week!

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  2. From what I know of Muriel Spark she was very strange and a dreadful mother. I felt heart sorry for her son, but if I see this book I’ll have a peek at it. Years ago I also worked in libraries and so I know what the public can be like. I was once called a Nazi by a couple who didn’t see why the library rules should apply to them, they should be allowed to take 30 books out at a time if they want to – according to them. I didn’t budge! If possible – outweird them. Have a good week.

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    1. To me, it sounds like Spark really only cared about her art. Her son was, sadly, a victim of that thinking. By most standards she wouldn’t be considered a good mom and she didn’t care!
      I have been called many things at the library, but never a Nazi. Not yet anyway!

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  3. While working the circulation desk yesterday, a colleague begged me to write a book about strange dealings at the library. Documenting such things could either end up in a book deal…or….be a stress buster. To the male customer who demanded I check in his items…while he supervised my every move…and described the condition of each item in detail and how it could be repaired….I smiled and said `Oh you would make such an excellent assistant!`. He stopped talking after that.

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