Nancy Pearl, Real Action Hero

Moving on to pleasanter topics: Nancy Pearl, one of my three favorite librarians, has an interview in the New York Times: A Librarian Is Making a Big Noise. Great bit at the end:

Confronted with a wealth of books, Ms. Pearl has invented a now-famous tool to cope with the onslaught: the Rule of 50.

“Nobody should ever have to finish a book they’re not thoroughly enjoying, but you need to give the book a chance,” she explained. “It seems to me that a good amount of pages would be 50. At the end of 50 pages, you ask, ‘Am I really liking this book, or am I just gutting it out?’ This rule worked well for me for many years, until I started to get closer to 50 years old myself. I realized that time was short, and that the world of books is larger than ever.”

So Ms. Pearl, who is now 58, came up with this ingenious calculus of reading: “Now I have an amended Rule of 50: If you’re 50 years of age and under, you follow the original rule. But if you’re over 50, you subtract your age from 100, and that number is the number of pages you have to read. A psychiatrist — not one I was seeing, a stranger — told me, with a straight face, that this is the greatest gift I have given to humanity.”

Of course, it helps that she has an action figure modeled after her, with a built in shushing action.

Feedback on Schwarzenegger

An old Virginia Glee Club friend, Paul Stancil, emailed me to give some balance to my sour grapes about Schwarzenegger’s victory last night. Paul is hereby voted Hoo who most needs to get a blog. I’ll wait to post the 500-word letter until I get his permission to share it, but the gist is that there are bits of the Hitler story that don’t hang together, that the credibility of the rumors about Schwarzenegger and Enron bear investigating, and that Davis and Bustamente were attempting to make political hay from an economically bad situation with Enron. If anything, Paul reminds me of an assertion that I’ve often (though not nearly often enough) made about the blogosphere: It’s all too easy to find only opinions and commentary that confirm your own opinions and worst fears.