Free Books

Our library – the one that destroyed all those books and has no money to buy anything we need for teaching or research – bought 500 copies of a novel called Circe by somebody named Madeline Miller. Copies will be handed out for free. The novel is a

#1 New York Times Bestseller — named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the Washington PostPeopleTime, Amazon, Entertainment WeeklyBustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor, Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self, Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider.

So probably some woke crap. “A subversive reimagining” of something.

This is the same library that recently refused to pay $15 to get me something I needed for research. 500 copies are $5,000. If the money were used to buy Cervantes or Shakespeare, that would make sense. But why is it urgently necessary to paper the whole town with copies of this particular book? Students keep asking me why they can’t find my books at the library. The actual professor who works at this school. The answer is always that there’s no money. A professor discovered that his carefully planned course on film can’t be taught because the library doesn’t have the money to get the licenses for the movies renewed. Yet we are spreading around what I’m sure is a cute book but it’s one in a million identical novels by utterly forgettable authors.

31 thoughts on “Free Books

  1. It’s time the woke stoped called anything they do ‘subversive’. They own the country, they’ve ‘reimagined’ everything. What’s left to destroy? It’s ‘subversive’ to listen to Mozart or Bach these days.

    Liked by 2 people

          1. I’ve heard that rumor too! I keep hoping it’s true, and that any day now I’ll start being consulted about important cultural and political decisions, and that the easy money, expensive cars, and domestic servants will show up on my doorstep. So far, no luck. Sigh.


  2. Are you sure it is “Circe” by Madeline Miller? The book doesn’t sound woke or subversive. If anything, it sounds YA fantasy (?) from this description:

    “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

    Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

    But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. “


    1. It’s deemed to be woke because it’s written by a woman and tells a woman’s story from her perspective. I’m not sure if the contents of the book matter. Maybe they do, I don’t remember. The book, as Clarissa said, is utterly forgettable.

      If they had to pick a fantasy written by a woman I’d recommend Susanna Clarke’s ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ which is an amazing philosophical musing on the nature of rationality, power, and women’s ways of knowing; even though it is set during the Napoleonic wars and faithfully depicts the gender relations of those times. I’d not be unhappy if they bought 500 copies of Clarke. 😀


      1. I’m quite sure some important person’s wife read it at her ladies’ book club and bent his ear about it until he decided to do something to get her to stop yapping. Then subservient English profs found a woke justification for it.


          1. // OK, OK, I’ll check it out but only because it’s over 800 pages.

            Usually people use “it’s over 800 pages” to come to the opposite conclusion. 🙂

            Do you check books out at your university’s library? You probably don’t visit a local library, right?

            HF described the novel as “an amazing philosophical musing on the nature of rationality, power, and women’s ways of knowing.” I probably read it in a shallower fashion, just for fun of good writing and some astute comments on the English and the human condition, so offer you to try the first few chapters to see whether it is fun for you.

            Even if one doesn’t find deep philosophy and tries it for beach reading, Susanna Clarke surely knows how to write. In this she is closer to Tolkien than to George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The latter’s skill at writing is pedestrian, unadorned by anything except ‘what happens next’ and even the intrigues cannot hold interest after too many tomes of plodding wearily in unknown direction.


            1. I practically live at the local library, and that’s exactly where I headed to get the book. I’ve already checked it out and now have it in my office. The first page looks promising, so that’s good.

              People should be very careful when they recommend books to me during the work day. Chances are, I’ll drop everything and go look for the book.


  3. Btw, do you know who is the person making all those weird decisions at the library? Is this a group of people or one person deciding everything?

    Never heard of any libraries (university ones or not) buying new books to give away for free. They don’t even give old books for free, but do library sales.

    University professors have self-government. Is the library utterly unrelated to professors, with the latter having no voice in how a library is run?

    I think your colleagues’ indifference derives from not wanting to stand out by protesting something and from assuming students find materials on net and don’t need a library anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “English department is behind this”

        But who’s behind them? I wonder how far you’d have to dig to connect it to Donna Zuckerberg, Mark’s “We have to remove white men from classics” sister.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m still digging and I found out that the National Endowment for the Arts is heavily involved. That’s an organization that’s been very destructive to the arts.


        2. // Donna Zuckerberg, Mark’s “We have to remove white men from classics” sister

          I checked and she seems more “lets stand against the appropriation of classics by far right” person.

          As a founder of a website to discuss classics, she can hardly be against this field:
          “Zuckerberg founded the website Eidolon ( in 2015 to promote a freewheeling discussion of classics by academics and non-academics alike. “Eidolon,” she wrote in a 2017 mission statement, “makes the classics political and personal, feminist and fun.” Women make up the site’s entire editorial board.”

          What stood out to me was “The Iliad remains on many high school and college reading lists.” In Israel, such texts definitely wouldn’t be anywhere near school. Do American high school students, even good ones, truly read classical texts? I thought many read below their grade level and were not prepared for college, while good students would take math, exact sciences and extracurricular activities helpful for college applications.


          1. Please understand that these bastards always word it in a way that makes it look they are completely benign and are working to preserve the field and not destroy it. Then we somehow end up with an empty library, thousands of destroyed books, and a chirpy novel for rich menopausal ladies foisted on everybody.

            As Rod Dreher once said, the moment these people say “we want a discussion, nothing more,” you should know that they won’t rest until they destroy everything. “Discussion” is their code word.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Exactly. And “we just want to hear what everybody has to say about this” means “we are compiling a list of people to be cancelled, and we are trapping you into saying something we will use against you.”


  4. A funny and surreal true story:

    и еще одна хорошая новость из афганистана: оттуда уехал последний еврей.
    ну, то есть, звучит она грустно, но он такой фееричный чувак, что это, скорее, сюжет для черной комедии.


  5. // I practically live at the local library, and that’s exactly where I headed to get the book. I’ve already checked it out and now have it in my office.

    Wow, just wow. 🙂 🙂

    Sounds like a local library has a better choice of classics than a university one.


  6. // People should be very careful when they recommend books to me during the work day.

    It is 21:30 in Israel. So I can comment only during your work day during my work days.


  7. True sounding joke about the West 🙂

    Сидят три ханыги на ступеньках в зассаном подъезде. Скажем, в Самаре…
    Разложили свою нехитрую закусь на газетке – тюлька, корка хлеба и пара
    засахаренных леденцов. Жрут из горла какой-то очередной яд, типа
    просроченного Стеклоочистителя. Давятся. Вот вмазали еще по разу и один, подавив рвотный
    порыв и говорит:
    – А хорошо сидим, мужики! Вот это жизнь!

    В это же примерно время, после обеда из 12 блюд, сидят в каком-то
    английском клубе три джентльмена. Мягкие кресла, полумрак, дубовые резные
    стены, жарко горит камин. Трое сидят утопая в креслах, дымят дорогими
    сигарами и потягивают 100-летний коньяк из огромных конячных бокалов.
    Один из них нарушает уютное молчание:
    – Да, господа, Запад обречен…

    Liked by 1 person

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