Friday Fiction – River of Dreams

River of Dreams coverRiver of Dreams

Submitter: Why hasn’t this checked out in 2 years? The cover? The dust bunnies on the corner? The EVERYTHING?

Mary: What a shame. I like that author.

Holly: I liked The Midwife.  I read it in the late 1990s by Mary’s suggestion.  The summary on WorldCat for this book is:

“When Margaret Claiborne, a beautiful and brilliant American pianist, marries Brazilian empire builder Erik Larson, she is plunged into the cosmopolitan life of nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro and the complex mores of a society she only half understands.”

It is set in the 19th century – clearly historical – which makes for a tricky weed.  However, the cover is pretty bad.  It looks old – not historical fiction old; just old.  The picture makes me think of soap operas. Yes, I’m sorry, but people DO judge books by their covers. People like my grandma who watched their “stories” faithfully every afternoon in the 1980s might like this.

Anything with dust bunnies and lack of circulation has to be considered for weeding.  Two years isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but every library is different.  If two years un-circulated is the limit of your space, then this has to go.  You can’t tell from this picture, but this book is over 570 pages long.  It’s taking up a LOT of space.

No one will be too heart-broken if this title is weeded from the collection in the smallish public library that submitted this.




  1. The summary doesn’t mention that she’s three feet taller than her husband. And who’s the gal with her clothes falling off and the giant bird on her head?

  2. Yes, the cover art makes a big difference. I was an elementary school librarian, and. even as much as I promoted some really good books, they would not be chosen because of the illustration on the cover. It was a real shame.

  3. Yea, I agree. I used to read a lot of young adult novels when I was a young adult and if I felt a book had an embarrassing cover, I would hide it from my friends while reading it.

  4. I am a library student – and I have a question for your readers – what about changing the cover? Publishers rebrand books all the time by giving them new covers – would it be wrong, unethical, illegal? for librarians to recover a book that is actually quite good (I am thinking of all the Edith Nesbitt and Joan Aiken books that are incredibly wonderful and hardly circulate) in order to make them more appealing to today’s kids?

  5. @JP: A previous submitter, many months ago, had a contest @ their library for patrons to vote on a book that deserved a better cover for its contents. They would then have a competition for people to create and submit their own covers for the winner, and the winner of that contest (the second one) would have their design replace the existing one.

    I don’t think it would be illegal, the only way it would be illegitimate was if the cover was somehow an important part of the book contents and changing would be akin to censoring the contents. Otherwise, binderys do it all the time, don’t they?

  6. In our libraries if a book hasn’t issued in 12 months we’d be looking to move it on to another branch (using a well known circulation tool which I won’t advertise here…. 😉 )

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