Buried deep in the heart of every recovering librarian lies the certain knowledge that the faithful are gathered this week in Chicago, mecca of American librarianship, for the annual conference of the American Library Association. Not to worry, Josh Hanagame, author of The World’s Strongest Librarian, offers literary solace. USA Today asked Hanagame to comb the genre to suggest his five favorite books about libraries.
Though most library types would disagree with the or any list of books, Hanagame’s selections offer fodder for discussion for the bereft who are not joining the much-touted pilgrimage to the Windy City.
Here’s Hanagame’s list with comments, prime material for explication, analysis, review and comment, even reading….
- The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco. “I’ve always wanted to visit the labyrinthine library in The Name of the Rose, if only to see if I could find my way out. I’d probably forget I was in a maze and just sit down and start reading.”
- A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, by Nicholas Basbanes. “My favorite book about books, the people who collect them, and libraries of all kinds.”
- The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. “The scenes where Kvothe is poking around the Archives are some of my favorites in the series to date.”
- Matilda, by Roald Dahl. “’Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message. You are not alone.’ Enough said.”
- The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. “I’m a sucker for anyone chasing forbidden knowledge around the stacks of old library, and if it means you get chased by vampires, so be it.”
That’s Hanagame’s list. Every bibliophile will have a personalized variation on the theme. Try asking the question at the next book club gathering. Come up with your own short list. Any matches? Assure yourself that they’re probably not talking about this stuff at ALA anyway.