A couple of years ago, Diana from fellow bloggers Our City Lights, befriended FYM writer Will Sellers on Last.fm (check out their respective profiles Here and Here, which they are both very proud of) over their love of bands such as ...and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and The Anniversary. It turned out that Diana's husband Scott Douglas is a bit of a big name at Dave Egger's indie publishing house McSweeney's. Douglas is a professional librarian in Orange County and has published a column on McSweeney's site (found HERE) titled 'Dispatches From a Public Librarian' since 2003. In 2008, Da Capo Press published a full-length memoir of his experiences working in public libraries, Quiet Please: Dispatches From a Public Librarian.
Diana and Scott were kind of enough to send the then-English major at Sonoma State University Will Sellers a copy of the book and he quickly flew through it. Quiet, Please is at once a humorous memoir filled with many encounters with of the strangest individuals who lurk out from the blind spots of society seemingly only to hang out in libraries, a historical reference chronicling the impact libraries have had on American society throughout the past few centuries, and also a commentary on modern American culture, as libraries are often the epicenter for culture clashes between classes, genders, races, and political affiliations. Douglas captures all of these aspects of the world of the librarian with an omnipresent dry wit and figurative rolled-eyes.
It's taken Will a long time to properly thank them for the wonderful book, mostly because he wanted a way to simultaneously thank them AND promote the book to others. Now that For Young Moderns is at his fingertips, there is finally a little bit of an audience to promote the book to. And another big reason why now is a great time to talk about nonfiction books such as Quiet, Please is because today sees the release of what is sure to be one of the great 20th/21st century autobiographies: the very aptly titled Life by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
Saying Keith Richards has lived an extraordinary life would be a criminal understatement. He's had a drug intake that would probably kill a herd of elephants. He has wooed and married the famous, written and performed with a countless number of legendary artists outside of his band, and has been a global rebellious lifestyle icon. At 547 pages, Life is sure to be packed with harrowing tales of near-death and, well, full 'life'. Life hits stores today, October 26, so be sure to pick it up.
And while we're on the subject of nonfiction that FYM has blown us away lately, earlier this year we read Dave Cullen's stunning Columbine, a decade-in-the-making account of what caused and occurred in Littleton, Colorado in April 1999.
Not unlike Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Cullen (who was working as a journalist in Denver at the time of the shooting) poured into a decade's worth of research and interviews to get inside the heads of the killers like no one ever has before. What Cullen uncovers about public perceptions of the killers and the media's reactions and jumping to conclusions about everything involving the case will leave you stunned. It's not exactly the cheeriest book to snuggle up with on a chilly autumn evening, but it can be pretty much guaranteed you will be unable to put it down, as it reads like a suspense novel, and maybe it will turn you into a bit of an activist by the end.