Zeus, Odin and Confucius walk into a bar . . .
I have no idea what the punchline to such a joke might be, but somewhere there must be one. As I was Roaming today, I helped a student find his way to the mythology section (subclass BL). His English class writing assignment was to write a short story, and he decided to look to classic myths for some inspiration.
We looked for Greek, Norse and Chinese mythology (and I suggested he check out Tolkien's mythology) and I can't say I'm surprised that we had more books analyzing these myths that we had books of the myth stories themselves. Still, we found a few collections of tales that could suffice to get him started. He seemed satisfied and I left him to select his stories.
Also on my Roaming adventure, I stopped to chat with a student who was studying flash-cards, and he told me he was learning Japanese from another student. We have many Chinese and Korean students, but few from Japan. Our modern languages department teaches Chinese, and we have a sizable Korean student group, but few students from Japan, so when I took the student with me to investigate our Japanese language holdings, I was not much surprised to find that the PL 500-600's were pretty thin. Even without classes in the language, it seems to me that we should have at least a bilingual dictionary or two for a major language; so I promised the student that I would order some.He mentioned that he has plans to go to Japan to teach, and I recommended that he check the history section (Subclass D_ ) to gain some understanding of Japanese culture. I have long said that if you don't understand the past, you cannot understand the present. If he wants to meaningfully interact with modern Japanese society, he should have some knowledge of how it got to be the way it is. This is not a value judgement on Japan, just the truth that all societies develop organically, responding to events and movements from within and without.
While I was in the reading room, someone once again asked me to pose for a photo.