Best of 2003 (excruciatingly long) and my own worst

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Dec 30 18:31:58 EST 2003


Jon wrote:

>I'll just add my own personal worst book of the year,
>as this year I read a truly terrible one. "Colin the
>Librarian" (can't recall the author) which seems to be
>an attempt to write a funny fantasy novel by someone
>who has seen fantasy novels in bookshops but has never
>actually read one. It seems to have some very obscure
>jokes in it so possibly Minnow or someone will tell us
>that this is actually a British fan classic full of
>references to all sorts of British fen, but I doubt
>it.

Sounds to me as if the title is a standard oh so
clever play on the title of "Conan the Barbarian":
Librarian for Barbarian is usual, isn't it?  I haven't
ever encountered this book so I can't say whether it
is full of concealed caricatures.

Fen, BTW, is used by many as the plural of fan, but it
makes me giggle because it is an eighteenth century cant
word for a bawd.  As with "feisty', so often used by
folk who don't know that it meant "given to farting"
from the ME "fisten", to break wind... I suppose that
small aggressive dogs were thought to fart a lot as
well, and that's the route via which the word exists.
But whatever the reason, I still feel that if some of
the ladies who are called "feisty" in print knew what
it meant, they would deck the people using it of them
(specially given what it now seems to mean).  It does
seem only to get used to apply to spirited female
persons, and I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to
why that might be.

>As a librarian I bought the book for its title, at
>a library book sale. Interestingly although it was an
>ex-library book it wasn't from the library that was
>having the sale. I suspect a librarian there had got
>it from another library sale and was getting rid of
>it. So it has actually been sold by several libraries
>in turn.

In England what generally seems to happen is that the
library getting rid of the book assumes nobody who
borrows from that library wants it (because the reason
it is being got rid of is that it hasn't been out on
loan for some given period), so they pass it on to a
different branch of the area for sale.  This was the
reason I was given for a book I had tried to reserve
turning up for sale after I'd been told there was no
copy of it in the Avon interloan system, anyhow, and
the nice lady librarian said this was usual.

Minnow


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