Faults in the Stars

Star Names coverStar Names: Their Lore and Meaning

Submitter: I don’t even know why this book was ever in my middle school library! It hasn’t circulated since the early 2000s, and even then it may have been checked out only because it was the best of a really old collection. The kids at my school like reading about horoscopes and things like that, but there are other books on that topic that would appeal to them more than this one does.

Holly: This looks super fun. If I were a middle school student, this is exactly what I would be looking for.


It would be OK for an adult non-fiction collection in a public library, although I’d consider weeding it on condition (see the nice yellowed pages below). Middle schoolers might well be interested in lore of the stars, but I’m sure there are more exciting books to offer them. (Maybe this one, which is from 2001 but still a better choice.)

Verdict: This is an important book in the field, but it isn’t the best choice for a middle school library. If you do have interested patrons, refer them to the public domain online version via the University of Chicago.

Star Names date due card

Star Names dedication

Star Names introduction

Star Names back cover



  1. This actually is the sort of thing I think I would have checked out in junior high. *shrug* Without any reproduction of the text, it’s hard to see what’s bad about it.

    1. I would have been interested in middle school as well (the content doesn’t seem bad, but based on the condition of the book (yellowing pages, binding isn’t in great shape, old and dated in appearance, etc) it’s a good candidate for weeding in my humble opinion.

    2. It’s a reprint of the book from 1899. The actual text is on the link to University of Chicago, along with a criticism of its use of unreliable sources. And, looking at it, it has long complicated Henry James sentences.

      Something I’ve had on my mind for a while, although this book may be not the best example – our librarians rate books by whether they circulate, meaning they’re taken out of the library. But what about taking a book from the shelf, browsing in it for a while, and putting it back? You don’t track that. Well, you can’t, probably.

      For instance, some of the hilarious older books about sex and relationships may have been quite well used, by readers who didn’t want you to know it. And some of the sleazy novels. But also, there are the books with cartoons, or short articles, that are easy to graze on, or even to read cover to cover inside the library.

      And, what about homeless people using the library? They don’t have anywhere to take books out to; in fact, they don’t ever leave.

      1. Exactly, Robert! That’s why you can’t weed on circ stats alone. You have to look at the condition and the content of the items for relevancy as well.

      2. The long, complicated sentences of today were the normal sentences of my junior high school years.

  2. Send it here — I love old books, and I enjoy that style of writing, with literary allusions dropped everywhere.

    1. It’s in print, for Kindle and online for free even. A lot of books weeded here are, despite all the good justifications, making that title noticeably less available to readers. This doesn’t have that problem.

  3. I own this book! It’s an excellent book for what it is — a comprehensive work on star lore written in 1899.

    Young teens (with a few exceptions) will definitely find it dry and dusty. If some young budding astronomer or astrologer leafs through it, it’s going to turn them right off.

  4. I might’ve checked this out in middle school since I was really into mythology. But the book is in very bad condition from the looks of it.

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