I’m Usually Not One for Shout-Outs

…but I think this warrants an exception.  During my 10 o’clock breaks at work, I’m usually in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation library on the third floor of the building where I work.  I’ll take a look at The Columbus Dispatch and maybe Newsweek or The Wall Street Journal.  I usually don’t read the books there, because most of them deal with safety issues and technology.  The computer manuals are also woefully obsolete.  I remember borrowing many of them from the library in the mid-’90s, when I bought my first computer.

One of the obsolete books that I did enjoy borrowing, and which I borrowed more than once, was the third edition of Prentice Hall’s Words into Type.  As a onetime typesetter, and as a person who sees the utility and necessity of word processing and computers, while simultaneously loathing them, I found the book fascinating.  Prentice Hall published a guide for proper hyphenation, punctuation, how to set up tables and charts in hot type, covered the merits of Monotype versus Linotype when it came to using many foreign characters (way predating holding down an ALT key and punching in ASCII characters on the numbers pad!), how to determine a word count, etc.

Yesterday, I came in for my daily perusal of The Dispatch and one of the librarians handed me their copy of Words into Type.  The librarians periodically go through their collection and weed out the woefully obsolete books, or books that no one has checked out for years.  They were nice enough to remember my fondness for this (now-) antiquated green volume, and rather than consign it to the Dumpster, were nice enough to give it to me.

Below is the personal reference library of a self-proclaimed “grammar fascista”, which includes Words into Type.  Her blog is one that I only discovered tonight, but will definitely follow.

Words into Type is the green volume between the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and The Chicago Manual of Style.

She seems to be much more strict in her choice of books she has to have at hand.  If I ever clear this desk enough of clutter for it to be photo-worthy, you’ll see that I have an array of books that have to be within reach.  Many of them are reference books (including the same edition of The Oxford English Dictionary), but I have an album of cassettes (Wisconsin Public Radio’s dramatization of Dracula), The Journals of John Cheever, The Art of Fine Words (a tribute to The Harvard Crimson‘s career linotypist Arthur Hopkins, who retired in 1965 after 36 years of service and died shortly thereafter–the book is inscribed by him), a tattered Doubleday hardcover of The Complete Sherlock Holmes (all four novels, all 56 short stories), Roger Pickenpaugh’s Noble County Vistas (since my mother’s family hails from, and helped to establish, Noble County, Ohio), the two thick trade paperback volumes of The Harper American Literature, and my father’s diploma from Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, W.Va.

There are several volumes of sacred literature and references as well.  I have a New English Bible (an edition I’ve liked since I took a course, “The English Bible,” at Ohio U.), Etz Hayim (Torah and Haftarah, in both Hebrew and English), The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Talmud, and Isaac Asimov’s Guide to the Bible.  The small plastic bottle that contains my gallstone sits atop the slipcase-enclosed copy of The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession, a fitting tribute to such a raging, whiny hypochondriac.

Sleet awakened me this morning just before 9.  I looked out and the sky was leaden, but I could see sleet pounding the sidewalks and lawns.  I couldn’t just observe from the safety and warmth of home, however.  I needed to go shopping, so I bundled up, got the two-wheel cart, and ventured out into the weather.  Steph was having some friends over for knitting later in the afternoon, so I started to break up the ice on our walk with the plastic handle of a broken mop.  (We didn’t have a snow shovel, and Kroger was out of salt.)  My neighbor took pity on me and let me borrow the snow shovel that was in the bed of his truck, so I got the job done a lot sooner than it would have taken with just the mop handle.  One of Steph’s friends donated about six pounds of salt when Steph mentioned that I had no luck finding any at Kroger.