In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians

Overview

Libraries, with their miles and miles of books, are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds -- the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty. In In the Stacks, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has gathered nineteen enthralling stories about libraries and librarians. They range from a classic by Isaac Babel ("The Public Library") to Jorge Luis Borges's brilliant tale of a library stretching to infinity ("The Library of Babel"), and from Lorrie Moore's contemporary ...
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Overview

Libraries, with their miles and miles of books, are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds -- the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty. In In the Stacks, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has gathered nineteen enthralling stories about libraries and librarians. They range from a classic by Isaac Babel ("The Public Library") to Jorge Luis Borges's brilliant tale of a library stretching to infinity ("The Library of Babel"), and from Lorrie Moore's contemporary masterpiece "Community Life" to Francine Prose's "Rubber Life." Saki, Ray Bradbury, Alice Munro and John Cheever -- among others -- are also represented in this collection that readers, booksellers, and librarians would agree is long overdue.
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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
An enchanting anthology of short stories about libraries and librarians written by a host of well-respected authors....The stories here echo the magical near-silence we seek,the stillness that allows imagination to take flight.
Publishers Weekly
Contributions from such major figures as Borges, Cheever, Alice Munro and Ray Bradbury carry the day in In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians, assembled by former librarian Michael Cart (My Father's Scar). Borges's well-known "The Library of Babel" is the best of the bunch, with its thought-provoking musings on the possibilities of an "infinite" library. Cheever chips in with a noteworthy contribution in "The Trouble of Marcie Flint," a typical exploration of infidelity and the dark side of suburbia. A handful of the remaining stories are pedantic, underdeveloped or ill-conceived, but there's more than enough wheat among the chaff to make this an intriguing collection. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Librarian Cart (Tomorrow Land) gathered these 19 stories about what he calls "the many-splendored universe we call the library." What is impressive is the list of writers: Italo Calvino, Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Isaac Babel, Alice Munro, John Cheever, Jorge Luis Borges, and more are represented in these pages. A librarian's love of books is dramatically demonstrated in Le Guin's "Phoenix," where the librarian risks his life to save some precious examples from fire, and in Anthony Boucher's "QL696.C9," the call number is a clue to a mystery. Librarians and romance are subjects in Sue Kaufman's "Summer Librarian" and Francine Prose's "Rubber Life," while other stories focus on the value of the library itself. Calvino's "A General in the Library," the strongest story in the collection, reaffirms the power of books as a general is told to clean out all the politically incorrect books in a library and ends up wanting to read them all. Frustratingly, while most of the stories praise the library and books, the librarians portrayed often fit the stereotype of the lonely, timid character that librarians have been struggling to overcome. Recommended for large library collections. Josh Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585672592
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/15/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cart was for many years the director of the Beverly Hills Public Library. He was the children's book editor for Parents magazine and has authored books for adults and young adults, including Tomorrowland: Ten Stories about the Future and Love and Sex: Ten Stories About the Truth. He is currently a columnist for Booklist.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
A General in the Library 13
The Phoenix 18
Gloss on a Decision of the Council of Nicaea 24
Miss Vincent 40
Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am? 64
The Public Library 80
Community Life 83
The Cobweb 100
The Retirement Party 116
Summer Librarian 134
QL 696.C9 151
Ed Has His Mind Improved 172
The Tractate Middoth 180
The Story of St. Vespaluus 196
The Trouble of Marcie Flint 204
Rubber Life 219
Hard-Luck Stories 230
Exchange 246
The Library of Babel 256
About the Authors 265
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