Sarah on JUDE THE OBSCURE: “This is going to sound weirdly specific, but…”

I long thought that I would probably never read a Thomas Hardy novel again as Tess didn’t do much for me.  And I really didn’t think was going to read Jude the Obscure, because
a) I didn’t care for Thomas Hardy, and
b) the title is so cool that I didn’t want the book to ruin it for me.

Then I decided to read Far from the Madding Crowd prior to reading Posy Simmonds’ Tamara Drewe.  I can’t say I really *liked* Far from the Madding Crowd, but it did freshen my interest in Thomas Hardy, to the effect that I was vaguely thinking I might reread Tess some day.

Then, while reading otherwise the otherwise unrelated The Wicked Child: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale, she referenced something so startling and horrific in Jude the Obscure that now I can’t really do anything but read the book, if only find out whether it happens before the events of the story, or in the course of the story, or what the deal, yo?  (I will not say what “it” is, because spoilers.  Yes, I know it’s a classic, but *I* didn’t know before, didn’t I?)

Incidentally, The Wicked Child was quite good.


Hey world, if I read the September 1st 1998 edition from Penguin Books instead of the January 15th 2009 edition from Oxford University Press, am I going to super regret it?

Sarah and Aladdin.

We never did end up finding that book.  We ended up ordering another copy; in the meantime we read him the Little Golden adaptation of the Disney movie, and I checked out various editions from the library, including “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” by Marianna Mayer.  I ended up reading several reviews of this book (one of which sent me off on another tangent entirely) …

So I was reading this review and it made me wiki the story of Aladdin, which I had been thinking about doing for a while at that point, what with Young Son’s newfound obsession and Gilbert Gottfried dying (Iago was my favorite character in the Disney Aladdin franchise) and re-re-watching the Samuel Goldwyn dub of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (my absolute favorite “Aladdin” movie before the Disney Aladdin came out.  It features the unspeakably beautiful “Angel’s Flight,” performed by Shadowfax, during the opening and closing credits, and far superior voice casting to the 1988 Media Home Entertainment release.  I really wish someone would pick it up for distribution on DVD.  Hint hint, Discotek Media: if you don’t accept licensing suggestions through your Contact Us page, where do you accept them?  Because this movie super needs the treatment you gave Swan Lake, packaging the original Japanese version with the two English dubs.  ANYWAY…)

I was under the impression that a European pedigree for “Aladdin” was fairly settled. I had never heard of Hanna Diyab, the Syrian storyteller now believed to have told the story to French translator Antoine Galland, as opposed to Galland inventing it whole cloth and inserting it into the collection, which is the impression I was under based on previous reading.  At the same time, I’m not sure how new the information about Diyab really is.  I’ve been collecting articles about him and “Aladdin”: some discuss it as if it were a fairly recent revelation, but others seem to take it as understood much earlier, so I need to sit down and really do some reading to make it clear in my own mind.  Like was I being fed misinformation before, or is this a case of English-speaking academics coming in behind their French-speaking European and Middle-eastern counterparts because they weren’t reading the same primary sources, or…?

So, homework for me:

Source: Quaderni di Studi Arabi , 2001, Vol. 19 (2001), pp. 173-192
The Arabic Ghoul and its Western Transformation
Author(s): Ahmed K. Al-Rawi
Source: Folklore, Vol. 120, No. 3 (December 2009), pp. 291-306
Reviewed Work(s): The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights by Malcolm C. Lyons, Ursula Lyons and Robert Irwin
Review by: Ulrich Marzolph
Source: Marvels & Tales, Vol. 26, No. 1 (2012), pp. 110-112
East Meets West: Hannā Diyāb and The Thousand and One Nights
Author(s): Ruth B. Bottigheimer
Source: Marvels & Tales , Vol. 28, No. 2 (2014), pp. 302-324
The Arabic Source Text for Galland’s “Dormeur éveillé”
Author(s): Ulrich Marzolph
Source: Oriente Moderno, NUOVA SERIE, Anno 98, Nr. 1 (2018), pp. 1-32
The Man Who Made the Nights Immortal: The Tales of the Syrian Maronite Storyteller Ḥannā Diyāb
Author(s): Ulrich Marzolph
Source: Marvels & Tales , Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2018), pp. 114-129
Ḥannā Diyāb’s Tales, Part I
Author(s): Ulrich Marzolph and Anne E. Duggan
Source: Marvels & Tales , Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2018), pp. 133-154
Ḥannā Diyāb’s Tales, Part II
Author(s): Ulrich Marzolph and Anne E. Duggan
Source: Marvels & Tales , Vol. 32, No. 2 (2018), pp. 435-456

Sarah does Loch Lomond. “By yon bonnie banks,” or, “Whither away…”

I want to put a version of “Loch Lomond” (it’s probably going to be several at this point, to be honest) on the list of inappropriate wedding music we’ve been keeping since before Kristen and I got married.  Ended up asking some fellow staff today on my break to see if folks had any particular renditions they enjoyed.  I am the only person at my library who likes this song, evidently.  Not that people actively dislike it, they just don’t have an opinion and are mostly baffled by it and me.  That said, our Children’s Librarian asked me to shoot her some links, so this is the email I sent her.

These are the two I like most at the moment:
Bryn Terfel’s bass-baritone rendition with the traditional lyrics, and I think basically a traditional arrangement, unless this is considered to be more operatic in style: I wouldnae know, meself.
The Corries’ version is super​ my jam, except that I think these lyrics are wholly their own invention.  Which I don’t mind at all, it’s a fine version in its own right, but I want the traditional lyrics too.*
*OMG, SCRATCH THAT, I was wrong!  The Corries’ version was extant before the Corries!  See people puzzling over it in 1899:
(Lyrics; also pages 162 and 163, ie. immediately before and after the lyrics, for commentary.)
If you type loch lomond into Youtube you’ll find a number of fine songs at the top; I was just finding them all a little too pop or American or “big production” for my tastes.  But that said,
If I don’t think about the actual meaning of the words, Maxine Sullivan’s take is kind of fun. 😉

Note my excited discovery mid-email, when I finally got around to Googling
“whither away” “loch lomond”
and found Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland: With Many Old and Familiar Melodies.  Much thanks, Robert Ford!
(for them as wants their Scots ballads Google-free.)

Sarah: “From Aladdin to Little St. Hugh.”

Just spent something like half an hour reading about “Little St. Hugh,” a boy who died back in 1255, whose death fed into one of the most vicious blood libel legends and was exploited for the persecution and murder of many innocent Jewish people. I’d never heard of Hugh, whose mother was (probably) Beatrice, who lived in Lincoln, whose young body was found in a well. I was in the shower afterward thinking, “How did I get on to that subject, anyway?” Here’s how I parse it.

  • Young Son is in love with Aladdin, and in particular, with a very prettily designed board book by Anna Milbourne.  I did not know how much until one day, while Nana was visiting, Young Son took it into his head that he wanted to read Aladdin.  “Aladdin,” he said, “Aladdin, Aladdin,” and he toddled off to the nursery.  “I haven’t seen Aladdin for a while now,” said Kristen.  “I’m not sure where it is.”  “They’ve probably stashed it somewhere,” I said.  “Aladdin.  Aladdin,” came the voice of Young Son from the nursery as he pulled books off the shelf.  “Maybe he’ll find it.”  “Aladdin.  Aladdin.”  “Hold on, buddy, we’ll help you look for it.”  “Aladdin.  Aladdin.  Aladdin.”  We searched high and low but it was not to be found.  Through it all, Boyo never stopped saying “Aladdin.”  He never got mad or upset, but it was clearly all he wanted. I do believe, that night, his last words were, “Aladdin…”
  • We never did end up finding that book.  We ended up ordering another copy; in the meantime we read him the Little Golden adaptation of the Disney movie, and I checked out various editions from the library, including “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” by Marianna Mayer.  I ended up reading several reviews of this book (one of which sent me off on another tangent entirely), and thought it might be interesting to check out some more picture books by Marianna Mayer. 
  • One of the books, or possibly a review of one of the books, mentioned Kate Crackernuts, which I have never read, so I threw that in the OPAC and found Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales by Alison Lurie.  Which is AWESOME, by the way.  I’m so glad I checked this book out and, on checking it out, I’m so glad I actually cracked the cover and started reading it, which by no means happens with every book I bring home from the library.
  • One of these stories featured a character called the Mastermaid, which cracked me up, and included notes describing a story much longer in its original form, so I looked it up and found that it was included in one of the Andrew Lang fairy tale books. 
  • That put me onto the Andrew Lang fairy tale books, and as I was browsing a list of stories included in those I found “Sir Hugh, or the Jew’s Daughter.”  Thought I, “This is either going to be deeply bad, or possibly very Ivanhoe.”  It turned out to be deeply bad. 
  • And that got me onto little Hugh, the actual child lost behind all this horror, who certainly could have had no idea what would be done with his name and memory for centuries to come, or that some random person would be maundering about him over her computer one day in the year 2022.

Continue reading “Sarah: “From Aladdin to Little St. Hugh.””

Sarah Waybacks the University of Adelaide

I have referred previously ( to my use of the University of Adelaide, and specifically eBooks@Adelaide.

…if you don’t know about University of Adelaide, learn and use responsibly.  Project Gutenberg is a wonderful site for public domain material up until 1923, but if you want quick unpaid online access to The Great Gatsby (1925) or It Can’t Happen Here (1935) you’re plumb out of luck.  Copyright law is, however, different in Australia.  If you try to access It Can’t Happen Here via the University of Adelaide you will be advised accordingly:

Copyright Warning

Under Australian copyright laws, copyright in literary works of authors who died before 1955, has expired. These works are now within the “public domain” in Australia and this is why the University is able to reproduce such works on this site. HOWEVER, works may remain copyrighted in other countries. If copyright in the work still subsists in the country from which you are accessing this website, it may be illegal for you to download the work.
In particular:
– works first published after 1923 may be copyright in the USA;
– works of authors who died less than 70 years ago may be copyright in the USA and European Union.
It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country.

Used prudently, this was a useful resource, but unfortunately on January 7, 2020 eBooks@Adelaide was officially closed. That said, I happened to be poking around just now and found that it Waybacked for that date ( I was also able to browse through “Books listed by Title” and to successfully view or or download several books, suggesting this remains a useful resource for them what needs it.

Sarah: “Argh! I deleted ‘Argh!'”

I accidentally deleted my “Argh!” list, ie. “Argh! Returned Unread (MYLIST1-100893),” which is a My List that I’ve been keeping in my library account since, oh, forever, but possibly 2012 or thereabouts? Basically, it is a list of media that I have checked out over the years but ended up returning unconsummated. I delete things periodically if I ever get around to reading or watching them, so what happened is, I had checked two items I recently finished and picked Delete from the drop down, but somehow inadvertently checked the “Select All” box in the process. At first I thought it had only deleted a raft of items at the top – there were still 271 listed (out of a previous…329? 529? Uh…) – but when I went out and went in again there were zippo, so obviously what happened was, there was just a delay as the system was deleting all of them, but then it caught up.

Blast and heck.

I don’t think there is a way to actually recover these items: My Lists is effectively an artifact from the previous Evergreen system and doesn’t get a lot of support in Sirsi. That said, I can probably reconstruct it from my checkout history, which I do have enabled, and from previous versions of “Argh!” that I had saved to my computer, but I probably won’t be able to add items that have since been deleted from the OPAC. These would still show up in My List (item title, with the caveat “This item was not found in your library’s catalog. Details are no longer available”), but they don’t show up in my checkout history.

Oh well. Maybe I can try checking in with the system support people on the off chance they know a thing.

Sarah weighs the pros and cons of ILL-ing a particular book.

I can’t remember how I found this book, but it sounded interesting.

The blurb description reads like a prime setup for a dramatic turn, but said turn never actually comes, and the choice of endorsements was…weird.  I get how people can have genuinely fond memories of something demonstrably fouled or tainted, but…???

It wasn’t in my library system, so I looked for it in ComCat.  I noticed the publisher was “BDM History,” so I went Googling:

“The purpose of this website is to serve as an accurate, non-political, and above all, objective historical resource about the League of German Girls in the Hitler Youth. Its intended audience are students, scholars, educators, collectors, historians, and living historians.”

Okay, that sounds interesting, but what happens if I do a site search with Google? jew jews jewish holocaust

Site-searching those didn’t pull up ANYTHING except the very last:

“This page and its authors and supporters do in no way support, condone, or seek to glorify the politics of Nazi Germany, nor the ideals and beliefs of modern neo-Nazi groups who like to use the symbolism and imagery found in Third Reich publications. Nor do we in any way condone revisionism and holocaust denial.”

As emphatic as that sounds, it seemed sparse for a web site that purports to focus on Hitler Youth, so I was getting worried.  [To Be Fair: there *is* more mention buried in this site, which makes me think that Google’s robots just aren’t very good at crawling it, but I wasn’t finding that initially.]  I decided to  Google the author.

More of the same with Google site:search, and using the search capability within the site was pulling up similar results.  There was one reference to her being a “student under the guidance of the famed Jewish television producer, Michael Rosenblum,” but sitting there by itself, it felt like the author’s bid at establishing non-antisemitic credentials: ie. another red flag.  It was part of an interview of the author conducted by someone named Deanna Spingola, but the linked YouTube video was listed as “removed,” so I went Googling “deanna spingola.”

…got it.  Yes, here we go.  Fairly standard International Jewish Conspiracy proponent.  Gun is starting to smoke.

So finally Googled “Landjahr Lager” jewish and found:

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  Thank you, NJGOAT.

Now I’m wondering if it’s worth my while to bring this book in through ComCat so I have some kind of a leg to stand on if I wanted to say anything about it on Goodreads.  I mean, there is NOTHING on the Goodreads page that talks about any of this, I ended up running multiple searches to find it, so it might be worth writing something to let other people know.  At the same time, I’m not going to do that if I haven’t actually read the book or given it a good skimming.  I don’t want to put it on my to-read list because that always feels a bit promotional to me, but bringing it in via ComCat shouldn’t be too much of an endorsement: it’s one copy of a 2016 book, it’s not like me requesting it is going to make libraries rush out to buy more copies.

Sarah is reading (realistic and nonfiction) graphic novels.

FYI, assuming anyone wants to comment, I’ve changed a setting in WordPress so it should allow people to do so without being WordPress users or logged in.


My to-read list on Goodreads is out of control.  This is always true, but back in January I thought it would be a good idea to wander through my backlog and see if there were any titles that I wanted to delete.  Ended up getting rid of thirty or so, but also bounced a few to the front of the line, with a focus on nonfiction graphic novels because there weren’t many of them and that seemed like a doable commitment.

One that had long languished there was Scott McCloud’s Making Comics.  Understanding Comics is a classic that I have read twice and skimmed more than once; would recommend that to anyone, whether they read comics or not.  Reinventing Comics was more abstruse for me when I originally read it, probably around the original time of publication back in 2000.  It’s not one I ever thought I’d want to reread, but then I thought it might be a nice apéritif for Making Comics; also, an interesting historical piece/product-of-its-time that could be fun to revisit with the benefit of hindsight because of McCloud’s focus on a then-current comics scene and his predictions for the future.  I also figured I’d be benefiting from a better grasp of the history McCloud draws on and a much larger repertoire of names and artists than I had back then.  Back then, I would have known names and characters that came within my orbit or particularly impressed me, without necessarily being able to situate them in a wider milieu of extensive cosmologies/backstories, similar artists, and broader trends.

The other nice thing, reading through, was that I found myself jotting down some of the titles and authors that I haven’t actually read yet whose work McCloud was either explicitly namedropping in the text or using for illustrative purposes.  This turned into a larger reading project best summarized as “Non-fiction or realistic graphic novels generally sorted in order of original serialization or publication” – I’m not being too strict about it and am pretty much reading whatever seems to follow naturally, with room for digression.  (Like I ended up going completely off-project for a Frances E.W. Harper marathon, which is about as far from the world of comics as it gets, but that woman was fascinating!  And also, someone whose book was just sitting buried in my to-reads and got bumped to the front.)

Here is some of what I’ve read so far:

7 Miles a Second (David Wojnarowicz)
Reinventing Comics: How Imagination And Technology Are Revolutionizing An Art Form (Scott McCloud)
Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels (Scott McCloud)
Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir (Tom Hart)
Three Shadows (Cyril Pedrosa)
The Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (Will Eisner)
Jar of Fools (Jason Lutes)
A Child’s Life and Other Stories (Phoebe Gloeckner)

Currently reading:

It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken: A Picture Novella (Seth)

To Read:

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Sonny Liew)
Ghost World (Daniel Clowes)
Tamara Drewe (Posy Simmonds; this one is evidently based on Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, though, so I plan to read that first.  Never thought I’d read another Thomas Hardy novel; Tess really didn’t do much for me.)
Alone (Christophe Chabouté)
How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story (Tracy White)
Trashed (Derf Backderf)
The Best We Could Do (Thi Bui)
Berlin (Jason Lutes
Are You Listening? (Tillie Walden)
The Waiting (Keum Suk Gendry-Kim)
Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Kristen Radtke)
Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? (Harold Schechter)

I think it’s going to be fun reading Charlie Chan Hock Chye after the Seth book.  It’s a Good Life is about the (real) Seth’s quest to find out more about a (fictional) cartoonist, and Charlie Chan Hock Chye is about the life and works of a fictional cartoonist, so I think those will pair nicely.

Sarah’s Most First World Catch-22

You want to read a book.  It has a sequel.  You put both books on hold.  Book 1 comes in.  You aren’t going to start Book 1 until you have Book 2 on hand, so you wait.  Your coworker tells you that Book 2 is not coming because the only copy in the system is Not On Shelf (probably discovered when the owning library was trying to fill your hold.)

What do you do?

  1. Ask for the owning library to replace it?  That’s some chutzpah!
    1. They’ve paid for the book once already. 
    2. Besides, you have a perfectly fine library.  Why don’t they buy it?
  2. Ask for your library to buy it?  But they don’t have Book 1.
  3. Ask for your library to buy Books 1 and 2?  But there are five other libraries that have copies of Book 1 (six if you include the library with the missing copy of Book 2.)  Why don’t they buy a copy of Book 2?
  4. Ask the five libraries with copies of Book 1 to buy copies of Book 2?  See 1.2 -> 2.
  5. How about #3 again? “Have you read Book 1?  Are you recommending it?”  No, I haven’t read Book 1 because I’m waiting for Book 2.
  6. ComCat?  Book 2 is too new.

So what do you do?

  1. Add it to your “Returned Unread” list and check it in. You have too many books out anyway.  Maybe another library will get Book 2.


ETA 2/26/22
“What was Book 1???  Your website won’t let me comment.”

I think I have fixed this, but also, for anyone else who might have been wondering,
44581497 - the golden age book 1 - pedrosa
The Golden Age, Book 1 (Moreil/Pedrosa)

Sarah’s old weeds.

Randomly, these are books I weeded over a year ago when we moved in February/March of 2020. Pictures because it helps me let things go. Some thoughts:

I still have an Orc library, but I just never really warmed to Stan Nicholls’ Orcs series. I enjoyed War and Peace, but Anna Karenina did nothing for me. Zot! and the Seidensticker Tale of Genji are awesome, but I have other copies. The King in the Window – gah. So glad that book is behind me. And if/when ever I want to read As Meat Loves Salt, Hunger, Blind Fall, The Book Thief, or The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, I can always check them out of the library.