Our visits were never long enough for me—the library was so bountiful. I loved wandering around the shelves, scanning the spines of the books until something happened to catch my eye. Those trips were dreamy, frictionless interludes that promised I would leave richer than I arrived. It wasn’t like going to a store with my mom, which guaranteed a tug-of-war between what I desired and what she was willing to buy me; in the library, I could have anything I wanted.
In his recently published memoir, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year Old Author, Herman Wouk relates seeing the 1926 silent movie The Sea Beast as a young boy and, a short time later, being surprised to find that it was based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Wouk can certainly be forgiven for his lack on knowledge about Melville, both because the film greatly alters the details, but also because Melville (and his canon) had largely sunk into obscurity.
Many readers, and even more non-readers, often assume that the rise of the internet has erased all such concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brad Bigelow, a former I.T. adviser for the U.S. Air Force, has devoted much of his time to helping ensure that such oversights are avoided.