Welcome back to The Bedside Blogof Libraries. I hope you enjoyed your break both for the holiday and from the blog. Unless of course you were dedicated enough to use the time to catch up on all the posts you have missed for various unsatisfactory reasons. We still have a couple of posts about librarians in books to go but as it is the start of a brand new year I thought I should start it with a preview of some of the things you can expect to find in the months ahead just in case it prompts some of you to actually read the blog instead of allowing it to be sucked into your junk mail. After all The Bedside Blog has got to be better than that quixotic, annual act of self-flagellation known variously as Dry January, or New Year Detox either of which offers a brief frisson of superiority over the rest of us that soon evaporates after the second glass of Sauv Blanc on February 1st.
So as I said just a few more books to go this time historical novels including the greatest thriller about libraries ever and one about the Library at Alexandria featuring a crocodile. After that we are into films, music and fantasy as well as comic and graphic books which feature a surprising number of librarians. You will discover the library full of books that read and write themselves and have to be chained down for their own good all overseen of course by that orang utan librarian; there’s the librarian who keeps turning up naked in bits of his own past; you’ll meet the librarian of Gormenghast Castle as well as Gotham City’s Librarian, Barbara but better known by her other name, there’s the Japanese manga stories about Library Wars and most remarkably there are the books in which our hero utters the immortal words “I’m a librarian I’ve come to rescue you” from The Edge Chronicles.
If you thought there would be no songs featuring libraries think again. There are lots, all rubbish mind, but then quality control is not one of our strong points here at The Bedside Blog. To be fair though we have edited out all those jolly little tunes by well-meaning librarians aimed at brainwashing 6 year olds into borrowing books and reading them as well as the effort from Frank Zappa which might have made it for curiosity value were it not simply him reading the rules from the back of his son’s university library card to a sort of tune. Even for a librarian that was a bit too painful.We have left in though the well-known musicals featuring librarians, songs from contemporary rock acts like Greenday and country stars like Jimmy Buffet and if none of that rings a bell, anyone of a certain age will recognise the line “She forgot all about the library that she told her old man now” and if not you’ll have to read on for a few weeks won’t you to get the line out of your head and find out where it’s from. And there is a folk song with the unlikely title of The Bold Librarian
The selection of films about librarians includes everything from highly acclaimed Oscar winning drama to low porn and from romantic comedy to dark drama about sinister forces, there is even a naked librarian but then that is Ingrid Pitt so what did you expect. They feature just a few from the 300 or so actors who have played librarians including Judi Dench, Katherine Hepburn, Jason Robards, Bette Davis, Eva Marie Saint, Peter Sellers, Hayley Mills, Derek Jacobi, Bob Newhart and Goldie Hawn. None though have appeared in films as many times as that the biggest and most persistent library star of them all New York Public Library which gets everywhere including a few times under false pretences. Oh and I nearly forgot there’s Sally. Sally gets very upset by bad library users…very upset.
You’ll meet all of these and many more over the next few months and if you think references to librarians and libraries in popular culture is about to run out of steam don’t worry (or maybe be very afraid) because there is more coming out all the time. Ali Smith’s book Public library and other stories is still quite new and even newer is a new volume of poetry with the wonderful title of Beautiful Librarians and if you can recall those books about secret ancient libraries and shadowy cabals well they keep on coming with at least two more published in 2015 and Glen Cooper one of the early adopters of the genre well he seems to be making a career out of it now.
So plenty for you to read and enjoy or alternatively just ignore as you have been doing but then you have to avoid eye contact with me in the pub when I ask if you enjoyed it don’t you?
In case it tempts you next time we will find out all about that crocodile at the Library of Alexandria as well as a dead librarian about whom it is memorably said when the detective asks about the victim’s home life “He is a Librarian…No home life at all most probably”