Thursday, October 29, 2009

Card Catalogs

The first person I floated this idea to (not counting Sam) was my husband. It affects him rather closely. "I think I want to do a year off line, partly because I really want that kind of life and I may never have this kind of a chance again, and partly as a stunt that can organize some writing."

In typical Nick fashion, he considered it for a while before responding. "Here's my question," he said. "How much research will you need to do for this book? And how will you do the research if you can't use the internet?"

Question: Do card catalogs still exist?

Answer: Yes. You can use them for storing spices.

Cut to a vision of myself walking the stacks of the Harvard libraries, reaching out my hand towards a mass of musty hardcovers and praying for guidance. "Please, let my hand fall on a book that is lively, informative and concise, and also relevant."

Is that what we used to call "browsing?"

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