I usually spend the first hour of every morning opening and sorting the bins of new books. Historically a clerical task, I’ve taken it on because otherwise I’d never know about what books we’re getting. We no longer order for ourselves or revise the new books once they’ve been processed (double checking the work of the clerks.) Now, everything comes in processed and we more or less are just supposed to check it in and put it out for our patrons. I like to be the one who checks it in so that I can change any of the preprocessing that I need to and also so I can be on top of what we have on the shelves and what is being replaced and can be weeded (pulled from the shelves and deleted from the system). Also so that I can read new YA books as they come in. The following are two that I read during the process. (One is a picture book, and one a book of photos, not as impressive as all that.)
Woolvs in the Sitee – Margaret Wild, illus by Anne Spudvilas
When I took a YA literature class during grad school, my professor was obsessed with picture books for older readers. But I’ve never seen a teenager pick one up on their own let alone check it out. This book is better than a foot tall and will not fit on my fiction shelves. So I’m starting from a place of annoyance. It might get a few readers if I shelve it with the graphic novels (doesn’t fit on that shelf either, it’ll be in a strange limbo for the foreseeable future), but I wonder what will be made of it? As one can see from the title, the story is written somewhat phonetically. It’s about a boy in a post-apocalyptic world, living in a basement, hiding from “woolvs.” Or is he just deeply disturbed? I think it would be good for discussion or even for a classroom. Unreliable narrators, language, metaphor. But for as many copies as we received, I’ve gotta get about 60 people to check this out for its purchase to be worthwhile.
Serial No. 3817131 – Rachel Papo
This is a book of photos of Israeli women in the military taken by a woman 15 years past her own service. Some of the pictures are inspiring and some heartbreaking, some of the women are beautiful and strong and some look scared and overwhelmed, most just look bored. I think a person’s reaction to the pictures will depend on their ideas about and experience of the military and Israel. Yes, it is jarring to see young women going about their everyday lives with guns strapped to their backs, but soldiers are always young. The purpose of the book seems to be to shed light on the human costs of war and to give back to the soldiers some of the individuality taken away from them by the army, but recognizing that there is a price for war isn’t the same as being against all war. Which is a little bit what the introduction seems to be arguing for.