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About Spines and People: Nine Books with Libraries and their Employees

About Spines and People: Nine Books with Libraries and their Employees
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Palina Dolia

Who do you think librarians are? Just people who "shoo" at everyone who dares to speak in the reading room? Drop all your stereotypes! Indeed, some of the most fascinating and exciting stories revolve around libraries and their employees full of sincere love for books and their work. Do you miss libraries while sitting in isolation? Is your library card covered in dust? Get out your notebooks: today, we're sharing nine exciting books where libraries are involved. They feature time travel, mysterious carnivals, and even cats. And books, of course.

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"The Time Traveler's Wife", Audrey Niffenegger

Sometimes very strange things happen to librarians. The life of Henry, a librarian with a rare genetic disorder, time travel syndrome, is far from ordinary. He disappears no one knows where right at the bookshelves, leaving behind only dust and a bunch of things, and the only stable element of his travels is meeting with Claire. They met when she was six and he was thirty-six. They got married when she was twenty-three and he was thirty-one. Their story is unpredictable, comic and tragic at the same time, and will surely captivate you from the very first pages.


"The Historian", Elizabeth Kostova

The libraries are also filled to the brim with unusual and even dangerous things. The heroine of "The Historian", exploring her father's library, finds an ancient book and a dead drop filled with yellowed letters. All the letters are addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they carry her into a world that she was afraid to even dream of, a labyrinth where secrets of her father's past and the mysterious fate of her mother are combined with unthinkable evil hidden in the depths of world history. Skeletons in the family closet, mysterious books and... Dracula. Out of nowhere? The book still has something to surprise you, as do libraries.


"Dewey", Vicki Myron

Do you think only people can be important librarians? Not at all! Here's a cute story about how a street kitten is changing the reading life of the whole neighborhood. What trials can an animal endure? How many lives does a cat have? How did it happen that an unfortunate foundling kitten made a small library a meeting place for nearby residents and a center of attraction for tourists, and a provincial American town famous all over the world? This is a story of sincere love for something that will never leave you – for books and pets. Get your handkerchiefs ready, it'll be sweet.

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"The Shadow of the Wind", Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Sometimes libraries in literature turn into something completely out of the ordinary. Take for instance, "Cemetery of Forgotten Books". An entire vault of forgotten books becomes a first step in the incredible adventure of ten-year-old Daniel. Barcelona, 1945. Daniel, who has lost his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book called "The Shadow of the Wind" by a certain Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find other books of the author, a strange thing turns out: someone systematically destroyed every copy of all of Carax's books. May it be that Daniel has the last copy? This is how a harmless book opens the door to one of Barcelona's darkest secrets – an epic tale of murder, madness and – love.

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"The Babylonian Dutchman" by Max Frei

A real concentrate of ideas about libraries and their employees with a touch of magical realism. “An old friend said that once a ship entered their port. It turned out to be a floating bookstore, which had already walked around the world more than once with a load of literature, mainly in English. Anyone could climb aboard and buy a rare book there, for pennies... My unreliable memory almost immediately turned the floating bookstore into a library. And gradually the imaginary library ship became so real for me that sometimes I happened to scratch my elbow, accidentally hitting its rough side. " Tempting? Sure! A whole collection of light stories about libraries, librarians and true book wonders, and each one is worthy of your attention.


"The Librarian", Mikhail Elizarov

This is not the first time the topic of magic books has appeared in literature, but how about taking a fresh look at it? The main character of "The Librarian" learns that several books of the forgotten Soviet writer Gromov have magical properties, and various groups of readers are fighting hard over them. And the more the main character learns about it, the more the world around him changes. Here, reading between the lines does not just open up new meanings, but gifts real superpowers. Sounds intriguing, right? To dispel all doubts, read a long review of the "Librarian" – the National took good care of that too.

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"Something Wicked This Way Comes", Ray Bradbury

If you've been wondering if a library employee, along with a group of children, can defeat an ancient evil, then this book is ready to give you all the answers. The story starts off with action – with mirror mazes and cotton candy. Two boys, William "Will" Halloway and James "Jim" Nightshade, who ran away at night to watch the carnival, witnessed the transformation of a forty-year-old man into a... 12-year-old teenager! Mysterious Mr. Dark offers locals to fulfill all their children's desires, but the price of such a gift is too high. So who but Will and Jim can go on the warpath against evil? Together with them, Will's father, a librarian, joins the fight. However, the enemy is not only Mr Dark, but their own fears.

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The Library of Babel", Jorge Luis Borges

"I always imagined that Paradise would be something like a library." You've probably heard this phrase, but it's time to learn where it came from, because every line in it can be taken for quotes. “The Library of Babel" is a collection of short essays about books, the universe and everything in general. Each of them will change your view of literature, libraries, language and life around you, because the Library is the same as the Universe. It consists of a huge number of hexagonal galleries, the structure of each of which is unchanged. The library has existed for ages, and there is no book that cannot be found in it. Isn't it mysterious? Very much so. Is it worth reading? Definitely, yes.

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"Guards! Guards!", Terry Pratchett

In fact, we do not recommend that you read Terry Pratchett – because, after the first book, you will want more. But if you are ready to immerse yourself in a world where libraries are one of the most magical and important places in the universe – start with the book "Guards! Guards!" What is it about? “The librarian held sacred the three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space", which are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality." Clans of gnome librarians, living occult tomes, labyrinths of books, so intricate that you have to leave marks on the shelves... It turned out fun and very magical. The very thing is to cheer yourself up in these difficult times.

Read books, read about the books and remember: it's not only you who misses libraries – we also miss you.

Internet Portal Maintenance Department



Magic for dummies: what fairy tales they adapt and what to read to tell them

22 Oct 2020

Since then, as a person learned to put sounds into words, and words into sentences, the world around him began to rapidly grow into fairy tales. Magic stories explained everything that frightened by its unknown, the change of seasons, birth, death, the color of the plumage of birds and the appearance of fire. What about them now? They suffered the fate of unbridled adaptation. Old fairy tales are rewritten over and over again in a new way, their motives are woven into other stories. How is this done, and most importantly, why? Let's take a look at the history of the adaptation of the fairytale classics.

Author's Point of View

Nothing is Sacred: Why Reading Over Your Shoulder Annoys You

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It happened to each of us. You cram into a crowded subway car, you can hardly find a free space to fit at least your head, a book is in your hands, you open it – after all, you stopped at the most interesting moment, how can you not read it? That is when it happens. Someone else's curious glance slides over the pages, the uninvited reader almost puffs in your – what an audacity! Although... What's the big deal? Why does a glance at someone else's book, thrown by a fellow passenger, awaken so much anger and irritation in us? Let's try to figure out.

Author's Point of View