amazing

Books in the Freezer | Podcast

books-on-the-freezer-image-smallerGiven the amount of time I spend in complete silence at the library, podcasts have become a crucial part of my life. I listened to all of Lore, Welcome to Night Vale, The Black Tapes, Serial, and S-Town. My only wish as an avid Booktube watcher was to one day be able to listen to some of my favourite booktubers without a screen and take them with me in silent places. Wish granted! Stephanie from That’s What She Read and Rachel from The Shades of Orange have teamed up to create one of the most wonderful podcasts I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. I subscribed to it when it was only announced, and I’m so happy I stuck by it. They are already 19 scheduled episodes in (with a few bonus ones). The podcast is called Books in the Freezer. There is an episode in Friends where Joey puts all the books that scare him or make him sad in the freezer. Stephanie and Rachel have adopted that concept and took it a step further. The podcast focuses mainly on horror, supernatural/dark fiction, and thrillers. The two readers have an eye for good literature, and skilled writers who can create suspense in just the right way. If a book is really frightening they will label it as a book to “put in the freezer,” however, if the book is just slightly scary and not too haunting, they will label it as “a fridge book,” and if it’s really mild “room temperature.” This scale is absolutely brilliant!

Each week, Books in the Freezer will have a topic like: “Small Towns with Big Secrets” or “Survival Horror.” In the episode both Stephanie and Rachel take turns recommending books on this topic as well as television series, movies, podcasts, or any kind of medium which fits the genre and would enrich a fan’s knowledge of the topic of the week. From time to time Books in the Freezer will have a guest speaker like Olive from A Book Olive, or conduct an interview with an author. If you find ‘horror’ to be a genre you stay away from, or think it would be intimidating, I would still recommend you listen to this podcast. I myself don’t often reach for horror books, but some of these have gotten my attention. There’s more to some books than just elements of fear that make them outstanding, and listening to Stephanie and Rachel discuss those elements at length has really widened my perspective on this genre. As a librarian, I listen to this podcast to educate myself on a genre I don’t know too much about and if you want to keep informed without spending hours upon hours reading these books, then this podcast might be what you need. I have thoroughly enjoyed every episode and each time I come out with at least two books I add to my reading list. You should also be on the lookout for references made about The Office. It’s become the podcast’s ‘easter egg.’ I thought I would review this podcast, not only because I enjoy it so much but I thought I would share this with you in case you are searching for something new, or you want to spend time with two intelligent people discussing literature. I can say it is MOST definitely worth your time! After each episode the list of books discussed is linked in this website.

My Top 5 Librarians in History

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I thought it would be fun to write a post of my top favourite and most inspiring librarians in history (and a bonus one). There are many others I have left out, but these are the ones whose works I have had the pleasure of reading. It will become apparent shortly as to why they are so inspirational:

  1. Jacob Grimm

grimm-jacob-imageJacob Grimm is by far my favourite librarian. This man, like most librarians on this list, was multi-talented. First, he’s one of the two ‘Brothers Grimm’ which is what he’s most famously known for. The two brothers (Jacob and Wilhelm) collected fairy tales and wrote them down (and refined them). Jacob though, was also a prominent linguist and he contributed greatly by creating “Grimm’s Law” which was very useful when studying Old English. Jacob Grimm also worked as a librarian in Kasel, after graduating with a law degree. His work on language, and fairy tales has had a huge impact on my life and career trajectory, which is why he gets the #1 spot.

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  1. Lillian H. Smith

IMG_20170425_164640Lillian H. Smith was the first head of the children’s services at the Toronto Public Library in the earlier days of the public library (starting with the 1920s). She created many programs for children like story time and founded the Girls’ and Boys’ House. The reading clubs that she hosted expanded in all aspects of storytelling like puppet shows, literary discussion/debate, and historical subjects. She was a firm believer that a librarian’s job was to deliver “the right book, to the right child, at the right time.” Her published work The Unreluctant Years: A Critical Approach to Children’s Literature (1953) includes the choices of literature she deemed appropriate as well as her new classification system specific to children’s literature. Her services for children and philosophy spread worldwide and she was a highly influential woman. Her name is currently used as the name for one branch of the Toronto Public Library.

  1. Jorge Luis Borges

jorge-luis-borgesJorge Luis Borges was an Argentinian writer who made significant contributions to literature in the 20th century and nominated many times for the Nobel Prize in literature but alas did not win. He lost his sight completely in his later years. He was a municipal librarian from 1939-1946 in Argentina, before getting fired by the Peron regime. One of his most famous short stories, “The Library of Babel,” depicts the universe as a huge library and is one of my favourite stories of all time. His poetry, essays, and reflections on literature, as well as his own major contributions have made him a prominent author—and often his librarian role is discussed as an extra.

  1. Eratosthenes

Eratosthene.01Eratosthenes the chief librarian at the Great Library of Alexandria. In addition to pretty much running the world’s greatest wonder, Eratosthenes discovered the system of latitude and longitude and made significant contributions to astronomy. He calculated the circumference of the earth without ever leaving Egypt, and has been nicknamed “the father of geography.” His work Constellation Myths: with Aratus’s Phaenomena was recently reprinted by Oxford Classics.

  1. Lewis Carroll

300hCarroll is known for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but his main career was in mathematics. After graduating from Oxford with a B.A. in mathematics, he became a sub-librarian at Christ Church there. He left that position in 1857 to become a Mathematical Lecturer. In addition to this, my favourite fun fact about him was that he was a stickler for near writing. He would often get great ideas for writing after he had already gone to bed but didn’t want to wake up and light the lamp, and he also didn’t want to have messy writing under any circumstance.

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A recreation of the Nyctograph and the alphabet Carroll created for it

So he created this rectangular device called the nyctograph, where he would have his own “alphabet” and write in code at night, so it looks neat in the morning. Recently someone printed a copy of Alice completely in nyctograph from, and that’s just awesome. Carroll’s bibliography is vast and I don’t have to convince you that he was amazing. The key thing here is that he was also a librarian which makes him extra amazing.

Bonus Librarian: Benjamin Franklin

BenFranklinDuplessisBenjamin Franklin founded America’s first lending library the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731. He served as librarian there for three months (Dec.1733-Mar.1734). He was a huge fan of John Baskerville’s printing work back in England and is responsible for bringing back to America the font of John Baskerville. Franklin also started the first medical library in Pennsylvania. I can’t list in a paragraph all the incredible things Franklin did in his lifetime. He was an inventor, a printer, an intellectual in every sense of the word, a newspaperman, a library founder, politician, mathematician, oceanographer, and scientist. I think sometimes his other works are so incredible that they overshadow the fact that he was a librarian and founded many of America’s firsts special and lending libraries—which is pretty amazing.