>Preservation, Superheroes, & the Man Who Has Everything

>It felt deeply wrong to have a group of library science students purposefully destructing books. Even books that were going to be discarded, and needed to be destructed enough that we could re-bind them. We all giggled nervously and cringed as we gingerly ripped the endpaper from the cover and then removed the text block from the spine. We joked about donating our bodies to library science–not medical science–to make bone folders for future preservation students. We grunted and moaned (some of us cursed) as we tried to tuck recalcitrant buckram under the bookcloth. Eventually, we all emerged with books that were more functional, if not more attractive, than when we received them. Mine’s got a great title–“The Secret City“–but it’s really about race relations. Still, it was better than my neighbor’s, a math book that we declared possessed because its buckram wouldn’t sit straight.

I’m taking my lunch break in the Reference office where I can eat my hot pocket and steal a few moments with my latest library finds: Maus (graphic novel about the holocaust and, yes, mice) and How to Read Superhero Comics and Why, literary criticism that isn’t stuffy in the least and promises not to use the terms postmodern or deconstructionist, terms the author calls “tedious,” and my BA in English agrees. I’m intrigued by the title of Chapter Two, The Bat and the Watchmen: Introducing the Revisionist Superhero Narrative.

I’m going to save most of this reading for Christmas break, even though I already have five sparkling new hardbacks on my bookshelf at home to read. But my self-taught course in graphic novels is taking hold of me, and I want to absorb as much as possible quickly–and get to sketching out more of the five ideas I have for my webcomic so I can get it online already.

Alex is cutting down scrap metal today while I’m in Denton, and then we’ve got his dad’s birthday dinner. It’s always difficult to find a good present for my father-in-law. You know how they say that there’s the person who has everything? Usually this is accompanied by a vision of a man in white pants, a sweater casually draped over his button-down shirt, holding a bag of golfclubs and standing next to a Mercedes-Benz. Well let me tell you, that rich guy does not have everything; I know because my father-in-law contains not one, but two of everything in his building.

It’s an amazing place. I’ve found things you’d expect to find there–wrenches, drill presses, tractor parts, buckets of old chains–but there are lots of unexpected things peeking around the corner. Right now, it’s home to my drafting table (to reside in my art studio in the future) and a cage full of cats. I’m sure it will be a Mecca to curious grandchildren. I don’t think you can call him a pack rat; he’s elevated the occupation to an art form. Perhaps in library terms, I could call him a Collection & Acquisitions Manager.


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