Awful Library Books

Hoarding is not collection development

The Pioneers

The Pioneers: The Picture Story of Canadian Settlement
McClelland and Stewart
1968

Submitter: The non-fiction section of our school library in Quebec hasn’t been weeded since…well, ever, so now that we’re undertaking it there have been good pickings. We came across this book in the Canadian history section. It was allegedly about pioneer settlement of the Canadian frontier, but apparently the Canadian frontier was settled by creepy dolls. The one in the middle with blonde hair and blue eyes is a whole new level of terrifying.

Despite its 1968 publication date, this book actually contains a lot of information that could still be useful, but nobody has checked it out since the 70s. Maybe the nightmare-inducing cover had something to do with it?

Holly: There is something about old dolls, isn’t there? This is an odd cover for the book. Either someone was trying to be clever by representing pioneers with dolls from the era, or they are actual dolls brought by actual pioneers and it is somehow relevant to the book’s content. Old photos of actual pioneers would have been better, or maybe a daily-life artifact of the time that doesn’t stare at you with disapproving glass eyes.Verdict: I’d keep the book (unless the same info is available in a book that people seem to like better, since this one hasn’t been checked out in 40 years) but it is a strange cover.

More Strange Covers:

Computers A to Z

Hawaii: Paradise or Polar?

Evolving Cover Art

WTF Cover Art: Timepivot

 

Not Your Mama’s Drama

Dramatized classics for Radio-style reading
Olfson
1964

Submitter: From a public middle school library with a lot of outdated books – especially in poetry and drama. We are in the process of weeding the entire library.

Holly: I don’t even have much to say about this other than BORRRRING. As you can see from the contents below, there are some good classic titles here, but how many schools do radio-style readings? It’s not the worst thing ever for classroom performances or dramatic reading, but kids will not be very excited about it.  I guess if the objective is to introduce them to classics and talk about old-timey radio shows this would work. Reader’s Theater is a more contemporary take on this idea, though. Unless the teachers insist, it’s probably a safe weed.

 

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Friday Fiction: Big Planet

 

Big Planet
Vance
1957

Big Planet is home some of the rejects and ne’er do wells floating around the galaxy. Very earthlike, but much larger, hence the name Big Planet. Good guy Claude Glystra and his team are going to finally clean up and stop the slave trade and arms importing on the planet. Of course, they run into trouble and have to make their way back to the Earth Enclave, the safest point. This means having to deal with some petty tyrants and other folks who want them gone. Like a Star Trek landing party, they run into some interesting societies and customs along the way.

Vance had an expansive career and died last May at age 96.  He had quite the career. You can read the Wikipedia article here.

Mary

More Science Fiction:

Fight for Life

Stress Pattern

Time Pivot (don’t miss the cover art!)

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