Friday, October 23, 2009

The Best American Short Stories anthology 1980



The BASS of 1980 arrived just after my birthday this year in a large box from Better World Books. (Hello Marketing Guy!)

BWB did a wonderful job of allowing me to complete my collection and I couldn’t speak higher of the service they provide. All these books deserve a home rather than ending up in a landfill or shredded and recycled.

Honestly, I have no clue what happens to the tons of books that are discarded yearly and not taken into care by companies like BWB.

I think I paid some thing like $3.00 for this volume, and I must say, it looks to be well worth the few bucks it cost.

The book is in great condition. It was a former library book complete with the plastic dustcover.

The plastic revealed that the book must have had a cup/mug/can of liquid placed upon it at one time due to the tell-tale liquid ghost ring the offending receptacle left behind.

If I were to guess, the container was a mug and the liquid was coffee...sweetened either with sugar or a flavored cream. Coffee without additives doesn’t usually leave a sticky brown ring. I’ll rule out a can of soda because of the size of the ring. I’ll also rule out hot chocolate because the shade of the ring was too dark.

Tea?...nope, again because the ring was just too dense and dark for even a black tea.

I removed the plastic and found the paper cover to be in wonderful shape.

Picture above.

The pages of the book are crisp, and the spine is still strong and hasn’t been cracked or broken.

Circulation history of the book.

I’m afraid that at least a portion of this book’s history will remain a mystery. I suspect that the original “date due” card was replaced in the 90’s by a Brodart “Sticky Note” type of date due card.

The earliest stamped date on this card reads Dec. 7, ’94 and the most recent stamp reads Dec. 12, 1998.

The most recent stamp certainly doesn’t reflect the last time this book was checked out. There is, above the circulation record pocket, a circulation barcode sticker with the sharpie marker obscuring the vertical stripes preventing any further lending.

The bullet hole that finished off the life of this book at the Somers Public Library.

Well, lucky for me, and I could only surmise, that it was some progressive thinking librarian, that decided to contact the good folks at Better World Books and allow them to take this bound collection of stories off their hands.

Let’s remain on the progressive librarian(s) at Somers Public library for a moment. As with the previous two volumes I have written about, I conducted some research on the former home of this book.

Poking around the net and landing on the homepage of the library yielded some surprises.

My earlier thought that the librarians at the Somers library might have a nice forward thinking mindset by their donation to BWB was confirmed by what I found on their homepage.

Right on the main page are links to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Man, way to get out into the community!

Great job! And in providing those links, they extended their community 335.36 miles (as the crow flies).

Now, I know that most librarians are pretty progressive but I find it interesting that out of the five Southside cites that make up Hampton Roads, there is only one city library system that has a presence on any social networks.

Norfolk – Nope –Booooo!!!!

Portsmouth Nope – Boooo!

Virginia Beach- Twitter and Facebook links take me to the city social network pages – Booooo!!!

Suffolk –Nope – Boooo!

And finally, Chesapeake – The library system in Chesapeake has 5 Myspace pages for branch libraries. –Good job!!

Sorry for that little tangent, but I have found that online social networks are pretty valuable, and I find it hard to understand how libraries, especially in the largest metro area of Virginia, could fall behind in this area.

Back to Somers Public. I took a look at their Flickr page. Good looking pictures. Nice folks, active community. When I accessed their twitter page it had been updated a mere 15 minutes prior to my visit! Their Facebook page was also pretty current with a post only 6 minutes prior to my visit.

I became a fan of their page and sent along a couple of photos of their old book. Their page has well over 100 fans and there seems to be a nice back-and-forth with participants in their social network.

Wrapping this post up, I think that the continued life of this book looks good. It will be with me a majority of my waking hours over the next couple of months.

It will ride in my backpack to and from work daily and I will find time to read it early mornings, during lunch and late into the evening.

I will, if necessary, take it with me on weekend trips to the mall where it will keep me company as my wife shops. (not a big fan of the shopping)

The book will do what it does best and that is to provide me with instructors. Stories that have been assembled and will give me insight to my life and the world while in my opinion, it will do this collectively better than any classroom instruction could.

You see, I am in the self reflection-education stage of my life. You have, I’m sure, noticed this but I thought it worth mention once again.

So, without more rambling sentences – let’s get reading BASS 1980.

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