Authors, Remember the Librarians Who Helped You

Skimming through the Sunday New York Times Book Review I found a nice shoutout to my LJ colleague Margaret Heilbrun in the back page essay by historian Amanda Foreman. 

In January, the 133-year-old Library Journal announced the creation of a new annual prize: the Amanda Foreman Award for best acknowledgments. Laugh all you like; it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I knew how much effort had been expended in making those acknowledgments as comprehensive and accurate as possible; but I never thought anyone else would notice.

As a librarian who worked for years at the New York Historical Society, Margaret  appreciates the extensive research that the best biographies and histories entail. And she definitely notices when authors give full credit to the librarians and archivists who assisted them.

Librarians‚ like all mortals‚ love to be on the receiving end of gratitude. When the occasional library, archives, or special collections researcher publishes the results of all that research and expresses thanks to the library in the book’s acknowledgments, and includes the names of the staff who helped, well, the staff in question are thrilled. Natch.

You know what? It doesn’t happen often.

As Margaret recounts in her delightful post “Best Acknowledgements of 2011” for LJ's In the Bookroom blog, she decided to remedy this shameful ommission and  acknowledge the authors who best showed their appreciation for the librarians who helped bring their books to life. The winner of 2011? Amanda Foreman's A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.

In this book, which is among our best of 2011, Ms. Foreman personally names and thanks over 200 library, archives, and special collections staff members from around the world who helped her and her assistants with access to materials over the course of several years. Her acknowledgments are not only a tribute to all the women and men who enabled her work, but a tribute to her for the stamina and focus to keep track of them all systematically and name them with little fuss or muss.

In honor of Foreman’s feat, Margaret created the Amanda Foreman Award to “acknowledge an acknowledger who uses the Foreman format.” She cited 2012 winner Matthew Hollis’s roll call of libraries and staffers in Now All Roads Lead to France: A Life of Edward Thomas as a “fine exemplar of Foreman tradition.” 


So authors, don’t forget the librarians who helped you. Remember to give credit where credit is due.  Margaret will be watching!






 Why the hell would you choose us, Gintoki? Why…? Why?

…Back then, if you were me, that’s what you would’ve done.

Doesn’t gintoki’s reply seem a bit contradictory though, given takasugi’s deep attachment to and love for shouyou? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if takasugi back then had chosen to die with shouyou. Why does gintoki seem so sure of his answer?

The reason is actually pretty simple:


People who have reached the same level of understanding shared between gintoki and takasugi often mirror each other’s opinion of the other. There’s this saying that if you smile to the world, the world would smile to you in return. The same relationship is applicable to that between takasugi and gintoki. Gintoki doesn’t want shouyou to die, nor does he wish for takasugi’s death. Although the manga doesn’t mention it directly, takasugi probably doesn’t want gintoki to die either. If takasugi were the only one who had to die, he would’ve certainly given up his own life without a doubt. However, once you put gintoki’s and katsura’s lives into the picture everything changes.

In reality, takasugi wasn’t given the power to choose, yet if he were put into the same position as gintoki’s, he would’ve also wished for his friends to survive. Therefore before gintoki cut down shouyou, we were not only given flashbacks of his promise with shouyou but also of his promise with takasugi. gintoki wanted to protect his friends at all costs, and maybe that’s the only wish that solidified his determination in cutting down shouyou. When I was writing an analysis of shouyou’s bushido, I came across this person’s opinion that I really agree with: gintoki back then probably didn’t really think that far or that deep. Even if he did manage to think, the thought process probably took place in his subconscious and would not have floated to the surface of his consciousness as thoughts that could be translated into words. Hindsight bias is probably getting into the way when we analyze this scene. Maybe down in gintoki’s subconscious he knew which side he should choose, while at the same time he was also consciously aware of the fact that he must protect what is important to shouyou. However he didn’t have the strength to swing his sword. I’ve learned from my own tendency to always procrastinate that being determined and actually being able to carry out action are two different things. The thought of at least being able to save takasugi and katsura might’ve been the only thing that gave gintoki enough strength to swing his sword.

I’m not sure whether or nor not takasugi understands, but he is certainly aware of the fact that he would’ve made the same choice as gintoki did. As a result, he hates himself. He hates his own weakness. He hates himself for not being able to die with shouyou and believes that he deserves to die. Although he wishes for his friends to survive, he also hates himself for being the one who lives. In takasugi’s mind, the ideal selfish choice would’ve been to die with shouyou and let gintoki and katsura live, fulfilling his wish. Or rather he must’ve had such thoughts. Yet would it have really been better to let his friends suffer the pain of his death? Or would it have been better to be less selfish and suffer together with his friends? Or would it have been better to die together so that no one would have to suffer? To give up his life or to live and suffer?


takasugi and gintoki are like the two sides of a piece of paper. They share an inseparable bond with each other that does not keep them from facing opposite directions. Gintoki and takasugi are each other’s second self. I am not saying that they have the exact same personality. You can draw different patterns on each side of a paper. The fact that each point on one side corresponds to another point on the other side is not changed by what is drawn (for example, the choices they make) on each side. That’s why gintoki says, “That’s why you point your blade at me, right? That’s why you don’t point your sword at yourself, you point it at the other you.” Because takasugi couldn’t point his sword at himself, the only way for him to vent his self-hatred was to point it at his second self, gintoki.

This is basically what I can explain about the origin of takasugi’s hatred toward gintoki. Takasugi’s claim that he cannot stand gintoki’s submission to the world that took shouyou from them just isn’t it. Takasugi’s hatred toward gintoki originates from his hatred toward himself, his weak self that wasn’t able to protect shouyou, his weak self that wasn’t able to die with shouyou, his weak self that should’ve died back then.

Are you in A Quandary? Don't Know What to get that Person Who Has Everything?

I know here it is two weeks before the silly season and you are sitting in front of your computer trolling through websites, beating your head against your hands wondering what to get that person who has everything. It can be frustrating at best. Here you have Aunt Susie who just lost a loved one- Well as they say, I have a book for that.

Pennies From Heaven

You say well I have cousin Joe who…

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going home from school , *sigh what a tiring yet fun day ..@
we rode a jeepney as always when i noticed this serious girl with “indistractable” disposition if thats a word lol .. i saw her reading a book , i saw some stanzas so i conclude its a book ab@out poems ..i tried to glance at the book cover to see its title but failed .. it seems so interesting, my curiousity was craving for an answer ..
i saw my friend doing the same as me not surprised knowing that she likes books too ..
then i found a courage to approach this girl and ask what’s the title book . Its “All Robert Frost poems ..”
thats where it started ..
then we talked about books and aurhors ..I swear im so comfortable with her ..its beautiful the way she’s so approachable and have this very friendly contagious smile on her face..we keep talking ,asking about each other’s interests like kids thats so curious and so excited about knowing each others stories ..
im pretty sure we’ll be close friends but we reached our destination and have to part ..


Gifts for the Silly Season

Gifts for the Silly Season

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I know that like me many of you are wandering around stories – click on sites and thumbing through catalogs looking for that special gift for the person who has everything. Well, I have the answer to your dilemma – order them an audiobook. That’s right audiobook.

My readers asked…

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