Friday, May 25, 2012

118th Carnival Of Genealogy :: Reading!

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Its that time again, Carnival of Genealogy, the 118th, and the subject this time is Reading.

Jasia, of Creative Gene, our host, asks:

"Do you come from a family of readers? What kinds of reading material was typically found around your house when you were growing up... fiction books, comic books, poetry, the Bible, magazines, cookbooks, prayer books??? What do you like to read now? Do you give books as gifts? Are you a fan of eBooks? The lazy, hazy days of summer are right around the corner and many of us will be reaching for a good book to read on the hammock or on the beach. What do you recommend?"

I have to say that I, as well as my three sons, daughter-in-laws and the grandtwins all seem to be a family of readers.  Man does most of his reading on the net.  I have one son who has in the past read the classics, his mom has not.  And, the grandtwins, they read ALL the time.  I am surprised there are any books in their local library they have NOT read.  Heavens, when they come to visit, we have had to take them to our library and check out 6 to 10 books for a one week visit.

I don't have strong recollections of what kind of books were around my home as a child, except for encyclopedia type collections and school books.  There must have been more, but, the memory has faded - -

Remember Little Golden Books?
Some of our boys favorites!

I enjoy reading research stuff, but when I am whooped I have to  confess - - I read trash novels, some call them bodice rippers.  Yea, something with little plot, no redeeming qualities, something that I don't have to think about, and most importantly, something that hopefully WILL put me to sleep!   And, yes, I now do trash novel e-books, free downloads rock!

Do we give books as gifts?  We have always given books to the children of the family, starting from the time they were 6 months old, even younger, when they received cloth books.  As they got a bit older, they received those really thick paged books, the ones that withstood teething.  After that, our boys graduated to Little Golden Books like the one shown here.  And, as they got older still, we have encouraged visits to the library rather than finance their reading addictions, those grandtwins can go through $50.00 to $100.00 worth of new books in less than a week!

The next question deals with recommendations of books to read.  Since most of the books I read for "fun?" are nothing I would recommend, lets chat about books I do recommend, research books (but of course - LOL).  You know the ones we pull off the shelves at our favorite research libraries all across the nation, like these from the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana.  Shelves and shelves, book after book, hundreds, thousands of them.  Wonderful books, books filled with facts and a now and then a few inaccuracies.  A life line to our research.

Have you ever given much thought to how those books got there, aside from the fact that someone had to shelve them, someone had to donate them or the library had to purchase them.  How did they actually come into being??

I just happen to have a bit of experience with this (just a bit LOL), so, let me share with you that all those weighty research tomes  come into being due to the love and dedication of those that did the research, who then compiled or wrote them, edited them, and finally at some point published them.  Hundreds and in some cases thousands of hours go into each and every one of those books.  Think about that for a moment longer, each book you see in the photo above was the product of many hours, dedication, usually a hunk of ca$h, sweat, tears, maybe a few bug bites, sun burn, possibly a few frozen toes and noses and ALWAYS very tired feet by a lot of people that care immensely about what they are doing.

Printing the book from he*$, page
 by page checking formatting as I go.
Those of you that follow me on Facebook or Google+ have probably grown tired of my chattering on and on lately about my current project - formatting a book. It has taken on a life and name of it's own, not a nice name, the formatting project/book from he*$.   It seems, somehow, that just about every book I get involved with has issues.  Formatting issues, additional research that just has to be done and no one else is available at that time to do the research, issues, one after another.

I end up spending hours fixing the messes, the issues, fighting computer foul ups, and this week, a huge mess when Man and I decided to bring a printer downstairs for me to work with.  Short story, the printer was leaking ink and before we realized how bad it was, we had ink spots on about 25 feet of our carpet in the upstairs bedroom and hallway.  If you have never had the pleasure of cleaning up that kind of a mess, believe me, you do not want to go there.  I know, it is really not the BOOKS fault, it just felt that way!  LOL

And, so, why the tails of woe?  Why am I whining and wailing, and crying and sharing my pain with everyone?  Well, for one thing, it does help me to vent.  Thank you all so much for letting me bend your ear about my woeful stories.  And, maybe just a little bit wicked on my part, the other thing is, I hope that my sharing my experiences will help others appreciate what they are using during their research.

I sit in libraries and watch researchers with a stack of books, lovingly compiled by someone or a group of someones.  The researchers open them, glance through the index, and depending on what they find, they search the pages that look interesting, or simply flip the book over and grab the next one.  I get it, time is of the essence and there is a HUGE stack of books waiting your attention. Keep it moving, hurry, bring another stack of books, start flipping through those indexes again,  no names, next book.  Move, flip, discard, hurry.

And, personally having spent hundreds of hours stomping cemeteries, sitting in dusty dark courthouse basement rooms pulling huge heavy old deed books down off the shelves, formatting, fighting with my computer, fighting with the home printer, fighting with the company that publishes these magnificent pieces of work, carting them home in the back of my car, standing in line at the post office mailing them, I have to admit to watch someone rather callously flipping all those books over and not appearing to give much thought to the fact other than, nope, none of my family in that book, well, it stings a bit.

A trunk  full of books fresh from the publisher/printer, ready for you and you and - -
Are you ready to research yet??  Oh, yea, me too!
So, now that you have read my tails of woe, my hope is that the next time you are in a research library with a cart full of wonderful fact filled research books you will pause just a moment, think about the hundreds of people and the thousands of hours they dedicated to bring you those records.

I admit that when I am doing some research, using books from some far off locality that I will hit the index, look up any names that fit my research parameters and hurry along to the next book.  However, probably because of my experiences, these days, I pause for just a few moments, acknowledge the people and the work involved in bringing me such wonderful resources, thanking them, and I quietly and respectfully lay the book aside.

Thank you for your blood, sweat and tears, thank you for this wonderful resource.

They won't hear the thanks, but, I know I gave them.

So, to answer the last question of this challenge, what do I recommend for your summer reading, why research books, of course, my favorite reading material.

With thanks.

* The disclaimer, Facebook, Google+, Little Golden Books own their copyrights. I did not receive any remuneration of any type, kind or amount to mention them in this or any other post I write here at Reflections.

** Oh, and I can almost guarantee, that if you are printing a book and the deadline is looming you will either crash the computer, run out of ink or jam the printer.  No kidding, it is guaranteed!  IT. WILL. HAPPEN.  You read it here!  And, yes, I did say that.


Dorene from Ohio said...

Love your post! You are a gal after my own heart!

TennLady said...

The thick books are called "board books." Growing up I recall all kinds of books and read everything I could get my hands on, especially the 1947 encyclopedia set my parents bought after my brother was born.

I once caught younger daughter reading while riding her bike! I love e-books and audiobooks and the printed page!

Barbara Poole said...

Carol, I think this post is among your best. Interesting, entertaining and educational, with a message that I doubt any of us has ever thought about. We should all give thanks to people like you. Good work.

Jasia said...

Research books are all well and good but what about those bodice rippers??? Which are your favorites? I'm a much bigger fan of those than of the research books, lol! Now if I were to discover that one of my ancestors actually appeared in a research book that might change my opinion but as it stands, bring on the trash!

J.M. said...

Great post! It's easy to overlook the amount of work that goes into a non-fiction book when researching. Thanks for reminding me!

Joan said...

Took me a while to read this post --- reading while tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks is just hard. I have most of the same problems but fortunately not the ink stains.

And I love my Kindle ---good for all those books I dinna want to have scattered all over the house --- but where are you finding the trash novels --- certainly not at my library! Do you buy or take out from a llibrary?

Great post!