Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Literary Leftovers

Kazuo Ishiguro was in town the last few days, giving readings at Cody’s and other bookstores to promote his new novel, Never Let Me Go. On Monday, he also met privately with a group of booksellers from independent bookstores, as part of a new push by publishers to get books “hand sold.”

When Sean Wilsey was in town a few weeks to promote his forthcoming book, Oh the Glory of It All, he also met with the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association at their offices in the Presidio. Elaine Petrocelli of the Book Passage says she gets invitations to five prepublication events a week, although she usually only accepts two. Newsweek says its all part of a new trend.

The Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus is very crowded these days. By late afternoon, there often is a line of young scholars crowded into the library’s anteroom, waiting their turn to enter the large reading room.

The Bancroft Library is preparing to retrofit its walls in case of a major earthquake. To do so, the library has cut its hours in half as the staff prepares to move to temporary quarters in downtown Berkeley. The change means there are days when patrons have to take numbers to use the collections. If you’re not there by 1 p.m. – when the doors open – you might not get in easily.

Library overcrowding might be considered a good problem. But it can also cause grumpiness, as evidenced by this recent article on the overcrowded British museum. It turns out that the venerable British institution, which until recently had imposed strict standards on who could do research, has recently opened its doors to the 100,000 students of London University. They grab the good seats, plug in their laptops, and talk on their cell phones. Scholars are squawking. (via Booksquare)

Be sure to catch Katherine Ellison tonight at Cody’s Books on Fourth Street in Berkeley. She’s the author of Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter. I plan to go and leave feeling much smarter.

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