Monday, May 7, 2012

Lessons in blogging from classic movies (reflective)

Today's Blogathon2012 theme is "5 movies that have inspired my blogging," so here are 5 classic movies that remind me of what to do and what NOT to do on BooksYALove - the movie title links go to Internet Movie Database.

Coincidentally, these movie-based lessons also reminded me of Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science, the pithy truths that underpin everything I do as a "librarian-at-large" on BooksYALove, as a contributor to, and when I recommend books to family and friends.

image of old movie film reel
Clipart courtesy of
1) Blue Hawaii - yes, the Elvis movie. During a family visit in spring 1969, all the kids got packed off to see this movie so the grownups could have some time without us. It didn't matter if we liked Elvis or not, we had to go. Decades later, I still regret those 102 minutes spent at the Saturday bargain matinee when I could have been reading! So I want to make sure that I never say that "everyone will just love this book" on BooksYALove - because it just isn't possible! Ranganathan's Second Law states "Every reader his/her book."

2) Planet of the Apes - wow! Seeing this movie as a young teen in the late 1960s was powerful and disturbing- because I had absolutely no idea of what it was about until we were in the theater watching it (another well-meaning extended family outing with all the kids, regardless of their ages). Ranganathan's Fourth Law is "Save the time of the reader," so BooksYALove aims to give enough taste of each book that readers can decide whether or not it's one they'll want to try.

3) Star Wars - the first one, the real one, the one that I saw 7 times (twice in French!), and I still have the 1970s t-shirt. The power of story was evident in this movie (known as A New Hope to youngsters)- classic struggle between good and evil, between doing the expedient thing and the right thing, choosing friendship and loyalty over the easy way out. Hmmm... sounds like the best themes in young adult books today. Ranganathan's Fourth Law = "Every book, its reader."

4) The Empire Strikes Back - We took my youngest brother to see this movie for his birthday during its first theatrical release (long ago...). As the opening  filled the screen, he leaned over and whispered "You know that Darth Vader is Luke's daddy." No, I did not! Why would I want to know the ending? Ruined the whole movie for me (at the time, it was the last in the Star Wars saga). So I will never give away special plot twists or the ending in any book recommendation on BooksYALove - a no-spoiler site by design and choice! "Books are for use" says Ranganathan's First Law, not to stay on a shelf or be locked away - and I never want to make a book stay unopened because I spoiled that delicious journey of discovery for even one reader.

5) The Sound of Music - My Girl Scout troop went to see it on the big screen in the mid-1960s (and broke into song during meetings regularly thereafter - "the HILLS are aLIVE with the sound of muuuuuuusic") - we thought we were just going to see a nice musical. But we also got a glimpse into war's perils, not graphically or violently, but at age ten began seeing that there were many unfair things that happened to good people, that there was a big world outside our Air Force base housing, and that ordinary people can make a difference. "The library is a growing organism" is Ranganathan's Fifth Law, and I hope to help readers grow their personal libraries through BooksYALove, as we discover other worlds and other lives through books together.


  1. Katy,
    What a thoughtful post... I love these glimpses into your life and your blogging/reading/reviewing philosophy. I was going to ask why you saw Star Wars in French, but now assume it was because your Air Force parent was posted overseas?
    I never stop recommending your YA reviews!

    1. Lisa - I spent a semester abroad in Nantes during college. Since France wasn't/isn't a NATO country, there was never a chance that Dad would get an assignment there (drat!).

      The French movie theater had programs for each show (I'll have to find the Guerre des Etoiles one & scan it in) and ushers with flashlights to help you find a seat (back in 1977, at least)!

      Glad that you're enjoying the reviews and thanks for passing along the good word!


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