Dr. Drew's Infrequent Blog

25 October 2005

Bergman and Champaign/Urbana Used Bookstore Review

The jetlag is not so bad, although I slept in later than planned this morning. Today and last night I completed my inspection of used bookstores in Champaign and Urbana. I found one book each at Old Main Book Shoppe and Priceless Books (and approved of their feline assistants), and several more at Jane Addams Book Shop (the best shop by far). I was saddened to learn that Babbitt’s Books is no longer here. It was a great big, rambling store near campus with something like three stories of obscure and affordable treasures. It was also one of the few stores to have several racks of library studies literature. Is that why it closed? Seriously though, it seems to be a victim of the development of Green Street (a mixed blessing, like most developments). My honest evaluation of a college is correlated with the quality of good new and used bookstores close to campus, so UIUC dropped a few positions in Drew’s Guide to Colleges rankings. UIUC officials should not worry too much though, as UH is not faring well on that bookstore proximity issue. Noriko e-mailed me about not getting too many books, but it is too late, as you can tell. Marlo Welshons also kindly gave and sold some Library Trends journal issues and books published by the school. UIUC GSLIS Dean John Unsworth apparently wrote UH offering to donate copies of their works that were destroyed in the flood, but I don’t remember receiving that news. We received many kind words from people, but were probably too overwhelmed at that point. I was very happy to also receive a copy of the centennial volume of the UIUC GLIS history as I am working on the history of the UH LIS Program for our own 40th anniversary – and UH Manoa’s Centennial. I found some interesting details regarding that in the archives today. I also replaced some items that I had used in my dissertation, which were destroyed in the flood. The UIUC Archives is perhaps my favorite repository. Bill Maher and his staff have created a space that is a researcher’s heaven, such as the self-service copier.

Changing topics, I feel somewhat bad to be away from campus during the first anniversary of the Manoa flood. I was nominated to be on a UH Committee to commemorate the flood, but never heard again about this. I am happy that the library will have its own small event, which will include an LIS student. Things are perhaps too raw yet – and still too much “in progress” to have any distance to be able to honor the event. I was almost tempted to have an LIS 650 class reunion, but did not feel like organizing this. On some days the flood does not seem real. I now see how it drained me last semester. Last week in class we saw the same management video on meetings that I screened right before the flood. That brought back memories, but I could not dwell on them as we were fiddling with the audio. I am happy to report that John Cleese still makes me laugh. I strongly believe that laughter and a sense of perspective helped me to get through this past year. I am not sure how everyone else made it. My colleagues and students were a big help as we went through it all together. It was good to see Eileen a few weeks ago too as she was the only student who left the program. She seems very happy in her new job.

On the other hand, it is good to “escape Hawaii” from time to time. Champaign is a nice college town with nice old buildings typical of the Midwest. There is a different energy in college towns, although people-watching is not as fun as either coast; people in the Midwest tend to prefer comfort over style.

I managed to sneak in an Indian dinner (my usual-Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan, with Masala Chai) at Bombay Indian Grill. After dinner I saw the “new” Ingmar Bergman film “Saraband.” It is hard to believe that it was his first in about 25 years. This film would probably be seen as too depressing in Honolulu, but I loved it. The acting and script were wonderful literary efforts, so that you can understand characters internal thoughts. Like Ibsen, Greig, Sibelius, Munch or so many Scandinavians, Bergman is not afraid of the dark sides of the Psyche and leaving some questions unanswered. The scenery, cello pieces, and shooting were wonderful too. I loved the organic honesty of the church and summer home settings. As I wrote Noriko: the depressing parts, the slow action, the music, the scenes... were all very refreshing, and felt so real, like the blast of cold air I felt as I left the theater.

Now it is time to read and write.

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