By: Micaela Walker
As Cal’s Spring Break comes to an end and we’re forced to replace frolicking through fields of daisies with drowning beneath stacks of textbooks–or more likely replacing our Reddit tab with bSpace, I’ve found that I’m not quite ready to leave vacation behind. And how could I? The sun is still shining and those daisies are still blooming but my guilt over the hours of webcast Physics lectures I’ve neglected has me tied to my computer while my mind wanders back to the beach (where I was reading something much more interesting than my Physics textbook).
So what am I to do while in this purgatorial state of fear driven guilt and intense laziness? Sure there are plenty of social networks to depressedly scroll through (“look at all these people having much more fun than I am”) and travel blogs to escape with (“I could take artsy pictures of cappuccinos if I were in Milan, too”) but I’d prefer something a bit more uplifting, wouldn’t you? Since this is CLUJ and most of us are admitted bibliophiles, there are few places that elevate our spirits more than a library and luckily for us a few fantastic libraries have placed their collections online so folks like myself can browse through the stacks from the comfort of our couches—feeling no guilt (after all, I’m practically at the library, right?) while enjoying an overwhelming amount of incredibly interesting stuff.
Berkeley’s own Bancroft Library has extensive digital collections that are ripe for browsing; from interviews with Dr. Clark Kerr about the Free Speech Movement to the digital archives of Japanese American Relocation that contain over 10,000 digital photos and art produced during Japanese incarceration in internment camps, the collections feel endless.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale has gigantic digital archives. The “Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities” contains, among hundreds of other procrastination-worthy materials, the 17th Century self-proclaimed Truest Guide to the Interpretation of Dreams Ever Published. The text includes an alphabetized list of dream interpretations—beware should you dream of bagpipes or selling milk, but if you catch sight of any type of fruit you had best consult pages 18-20 (and never underestimate the difference in significance between a blackberry and a grapefruit).
Duke has a really fascinating online exhibition about advertising and the rise of consumer culture in the United States from 1850-1920. The ads are mostly laughable but also eerily reminiscent of current advertising techniques (have y’all seen the Lap-Band billboards? Or the CDC’s super graphic anti-smoking commercials showing the poor wheezing woman with a hole in her throat?). If such advertising techniques disturb you, check out the Keeley Institute’s ad campaign meant to rid users of drug and alcohol addictions, it’s far from disturbing. In fact, you may wonder at why the ads come with a free sewing kit yet never reveal what, exactly, the Keely treatment is. The company’s slogan, “The Beautiful Romance of life never blooms in the morass liquor or drug addiction” itself is worthy of some thoughtful literary analysis.
For more posts on bibliophilia
and dream interpretation, click here.