A is for Almanac

I’d test myself to see if I could remember which Presidents of the United States had been Secretary of State.

World Almanac 2016From the time I was about ten years old, I would get for Christmas a World Almanac almost every year. And I was happy.

When I was growing up, it was my parents making the purchase. As an adult, it would be a significant other, or else I would gift it to myself.

The almanac contained tons of statistics. Some of them were rather static Continue reading “A is for Almanac”

30-Day Challenge: Day 14-Favorite Purchase Ever Made

This book has all the albums of all the group who had a Top 200 hit according to the Billboard charts, with brief bios of the artists, and a list of all the album cuts.

Favorite purchase EVER made, by me? As opposed to things purchased for me, which would an entirely different matter. Oh, dear, my library geekdom mind is showing; well, at least it has a pop culture bent.

All right, I have to pick something that has given me hours and hours of enjoyment. I first thought of the World Almanac, but I did not purchase my first half dozen almanacs, my parents did, for Christmas.

Certainly, a contender was going to be the first time I ever purchased The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, which allowed me to relive shows I remember, get details on shows I had forgotten, and provide useful, if trivial, information when television facts are at issue. Based on a recent blog post, I discovered that, in the Albany market in 1967, the Monkees were pre-empted by the syndicated Death Valley Days, and that I Dream of Jeannie was bumped by a local quiz show. I love that trivia stuff.

But I suppose, honestly, the correct answer to this question is the first time I got Top Pop Albums, which probably covered 1955 to 1995. I’m guessing because I’ve purchased subsequent additions. This book has all the albums of all the group who had a Top 200 hit according to the Billboard charts, with brief bios of the artists, and a list of all the album cuts, so one could find on which albums that particular song appeared. It allows me, in a visceral way, to re-experience artists I love or learn new things. I refer to it several times a week.

In fact, the newest iteration of this book, which goes up to 2009, has become so large that the album cuts now appear on a separate CD; necessary, given the number of records delineated, but I believe that the previous version, which went up to 2005, will probably be the one that I will find most useful on a day-to-day basis. 

30-Day Challenge: Day 4 – Favorite Book

What about “real” books, books with actual sentences?

About a month before Carol and I got married, some of our friends threw us a party. We were supposed to answer a series of questions about each other. I was supposed to pick her favorite book; don’t know what I chose, but it was wrong. It was 100 Years of Solitude, which I had never heard her ever mention.

She guessed the World Almanac. Some folks declared skepticism about her pick, but it was dead-on right. It’s a book I’ve gotten every year except maybe a couple since I was 10.
Now that the computer is so ubiquitous, can’t I find the same info online? Probably most of it. But I know where to find it in this book, with a notation for the source of additional data; in some ways, THAT is more significant than the initial information. Besides, sometimes I don’t WANT to be on the computer.

Indeed I love my reference books on music, TV, movies; that’s why the former is on my list for The Giveaway (see right column until July 3, 2010).

But what about “real” books, books with actual sentences? Certainly, one of the most significant is Lying by Sissela Bok; except for a couple books on the Beatles, it’s one of the books I’ve read more than once all the way through as an adult.

Another would be the Bible, but that’s a special case. Sometimes it’s just too oblique for me. In our Bible study, one of the goals is to ascertain what the reading means for today. But there are plenty of readings, in Leviticus, e.g., that I can’t fathom., even after repeated study.

So I pick the book with the facts and figures as my favorite.