Wednesday, April 21, 2010

During Tim's reconciliation service, Jeff messaged me that Kenny needs a book on Hawaii from the library. So after the service (and after getting a bite at Tim's favorite restaurant, Subway), I traded him in for Kenny at home. We returned his Lindbergh biography which he'd had since January because he had already given his presentation to parents at school a couple of Fridays ago. The overdue fee was only $2. Whew.

I sat Kenny down at the WebCat PC/terminal in the children's section and without any prompting from me, he typed in "hawaii." The results weren't very impressive. I told him to scan the results for call numbers beginning with "J" and we would walk to that section of the children's collection and scan the shelves for titles that looked promising. None of the results tended to cluster around any particular call number but we decided to walk to the 970's in the stacks.

There wasn't much on the shelves that caught our eye. So we walked over to the fiction section to locate a librarian. We told her we were looking for fact books on Hawaii and she countered, "Not in this section you aren't." I know it's their tendency to think patrons stupid but I resent being considered also lazy. No, but over in the 970's. She told us to try 919.

So we walked back and found a much wider selection of books. We took home two. To her credit, she stopped by and checked up on us. I just don't know why these 919 books didn't turn up in a catalog search.

After that, I took a few minutes to sashay over to the grown-up 200's. I'm beginning a study of the Book of Exodus and I thought I could find the Anchor Bible commentary. But I didn't see that particular volume even though there are some, mostly prophets. Instead I picked up F. F. Bruce's The English Bible, 2nd edition (OUP, 1970). It's my cup of tea. I'd forgotten how much I love looking at OE and ME texts. I can't read the texts, can't pronounce or translate. But I nonetheless find the words fascinating, always have:
Ne beoth ge thy forhtran, theah the Faraon brohte
sweordwigendra side hergas,
eorla unrim! Him eallum wile
mihtig drihten thurh mine hand
to daege thissum daedlean gyfan,
thaet hie lifigende leng ne moton
aegnian mid yrmthum Israhela cyn.
Ne willath eow ondraedan deade fethan
faege ferhthlocan! fyrst is aet ende
laenes lifes. Eow is lar godes
a-broden of breostum: ic on beteran raed,
thaet ge gewurthien wuldres aldor
and eow liffrean lissa bidde,
sigora gesynto, thaer ge sithien!
This is se ecea Abrahames god,
frumsceafta frea, se thas fyrd wereth
modig and maegenrof mid thaere miclan hand.
When I was a kid looking at this sort of stuff, usually the word origins in the dictionary entry, I always thought that I'd one day learn how to read it. Or even that I could ever learn to read it. Ha.

Bruce says that this section is an OE translation from Old Saxon, centuries before the Norman Conquest. Follow the link and look at all the quaint names.

I haven't gotten very far in Bruce's book and probably won't before it's due back at the library. But I found the third edition available at Amazon from book sellers. I guess it's interesting because I don't think many people are trained in these ancient languages anymore. And so far I've found his writing style irenic.

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