Tuesday, July 05, 2011


At Salon, Laura Miller writes about...invisible libraries.

The original Invisible Library disappeared from the Web in the mid-2000s (though you can still find snapshots of it in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine), and since then other pseudobibliophiles have opened their own "branches," although these too have a tendency to end up abandoned. The novelists Ed Park and Levi Stahl created a catalog of imaginary titles that inspired an interactive exhibition at a London art gallery, but they have only occasionally updated it since 2008. Loss of interest is, perhaps, inevitable, since when you maintain such a list, tiresome people are constantly proclaiming their disappointed astonishment that their particular obscure favorite isn't listed.

Actually, Levi and I still update our Invisible Library—our "site" is so primitive (i.e., it's a blogspot blog) that we need to keep those 2008 timestamps intact in order to preserve alphabetical order. In other words, we need to get a real site. (No comment about the "tiresome people" statement.)

If you thought we were lying low, you might have missed this one from a few months ago:

, (Professor) Peter: Who Indeed: A Critical Analysis of Television's Who's the Boss?; What WAS Happening: An Analysis ofWhat’s Happening?;
—from Community (season 2, ep. 20)

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Blogger Richard P said...

Oh, thank you very much, I didn't know about your Invisible Library. Good to see several items from Keeler. I had no memory of the fact that in Sing Sing Nights, he credited a certain McCaigh with a nonexistent novel titled The Washington Square Enigma -- a novel that Keeler himself then went on to write!

If in my unpublished 2010 NaNoWriMo novel, titled Appointment with the Inferno, I make reference to another novel by the same name written by a fictional author, does Appointment with the Inferno qualify as a fictional book?

10:26 PM  
Blogger Levi Stahl said...

Community, a show that one of my best friends in the world is now writing for!!!!!!!

Which is enough to make me convinced that it must be brilliant.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Levi Stahl said...

And RIchard: I think that if Appointment with the Inferno, the book referred to within Appointment with the Inferno, is different from Appointment with the Inferno, the book in which it's referred to, then Appointement with the Inferno, the referred-to book, is definitely an Invisible Book.

Though this may require a ruling on whether unpublished novels can properly give birth to Invisible Books. As an egalitarian, I'm inclined to say yes; as a librarian, wanting to point people in the direction of reference we make, I'm less certain.

9:55 PM  

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