Library@Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom

Where Minds meet and Ideas pop up !

Library Humour

Library Anecdote: Patron: “I am looking for a globe of the earth.” 
Librarian: “We have a table-top model over here.” 
Patron: “No, that’s not good enough. Don’t you have a life-size?” 
Librarian: (pause) “Yes, but it’s in use right now.” 


*** A book may be compared to your neighbor; if it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early.
– Henry Brooke

*** Book lovers never go to bed alone.
– Unknown

***There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.
– Rex Stout

*** Seventy million books in America’s libraries, but the one you want to read is always out.
– Tom Masson

*** Knowledge is free at the library. Just bring your own container.
– Unknown

*** Book — what they make a movie out of for television.
– Leonard Louis Levinson

Information on dragons can be found by asking one of them in the office.

The purpose of OPACs is to say how much to sell crude oil for.

Reference books cannot be checked out because they are too big and heavy.

Fiction books are just a lot of stories, so they don’t get a rating number.

The Dewey System measures how cold it got overnight by measuring how much wetness is on the grass in the mornings.

You can find words with similar meanings in Rogers Brontasaurus.

Boolean operators are telephone sellers in other countries.

A bibliography is the cast of characters in the Bible.

Books with the letter R on the label are only for people over 18 years old.

You shouldn’t eat in the library because there are too many germs.

Students are allowed to use the photocopier when it is working.

You can use an author search if you don’t know who wrote the book your looking for.

Copyright is using the photocopier the right way.

Plagiarism is when you copy someone else without them finding out.

An abstract is a painting that doesn’t make any sense.

A citation is when you go to a web cite and copy it so no one says you cheated.

The Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed by vandals with chewing gum and spray paint.

The New York Public Library has two lions outside the front door to stop people stealing books.

The Library of Congress is where congressmen go to steal books.

Standing on the shoulders of giants is important in research for getting the books off the top shelf.

People shouldn’t put their real name and address on their library cards because an orthodontist might see it.

If I see stuff on the Internet that makes me uncomfortable, I should tell all my friends where the website is so they don’t get scared when they go there by mistake.

Friction books are put together so they don’t slide off the shelve because of the plestic covers.

Barcodes are put on books so they know who they bilong too.

Literature is long stories in tiny letters with no fun happening.

I like to read graphic novels becaus you can color in the pitchers when you dont know what the words are.

You should not make too much noise in the library because then no one will know you are there when they come to start a fight.

Filed under: library Jokes & Cartoons

Author of the week


Vikram Seth

(Book in the Library: A Suitable Boy)

Born in 1952 in Calcutta, India, Vikram Seth was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Stanford University and Nanjing University. He has travelled widely and lived in Britain, California, India and China. His first novel, The Golden Gate: A Novel in VerseA Suitable Boy (1993), won the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book). Set in India in the early 1950s, it is the story of a young girl, Lata, and her search for a husband. An Equal Music (1999), is the story of a violinist haunted by the memory of a former lover.

Vikram Seth is also the author of a travel book, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983), an account of a journey through Tibet, China and Nepal that won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and a libretto, Arion and the Dolphin: A Libretto (1994), which was performed at the English National Opera in June 1994, with music by Alec Roth. His poetry includes Mappings (1980), The Humble Administrator’s Garden (1985), winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia), and All You Who Sleep Tonight: Poems (1990). His children’s book, Beastly Tales from Here and There (1992), consists of ten stories about animals told in verse. (1986), describes the experiences of a group of friends living in California. His acclaimed epic of Indian life,

Vikram Seth’s latest work is Two Lives (2005), a memoir of the marriage of his great uncle and aunt.


Mappings Writer’s Workshop (Calcutta) (re-issued Viking 1994), 1980

From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet Chatto & Windus, 1983

The Humble Administrator’s Garden Carcanet, 1985

The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse Faber and Faber, 1986

All You Who Sleep Tonight: Poems Faber and Faber, 1990

Beastly Tales from Here and There (illustrated by Ravi Shankar, re-issued Phoenix House 2002) Phoenix House, 1992

Three Chinese Poets: Translations of Poems by Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu Faber and Faber, 1992

A Suitable Boy Phoenix House, 1993

Arion and the Dolphin: A Libretto Phoenix House, 1994

An Equal Music Phoenix House, 1999

Two Lives Time Warner, 2005

Prizes and awards

1983 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet

1985 Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) The Humble Administrator’s Garden

1993 Irish Times International Fiction Prize (shortlist) A Suitable Boy

1994 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) A Suitable Boy

1994 WH Smith Literary Award A Suitable Boy

2001 EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Book/NovelAn Equal Music

Filed under: Author of the week,

Book of the week


My Life


Fidel Castro, with Ignacio Ramonet, translated by Andrew Hurley

736pp, Allen Lane, £25

“When the Soviet Union and the socialist camp disappeared,” Fidel Castro tells Ignacio Ramonet, editor of what is in effect both Castro’s autobiography and political testament, “no one would have wagered one cent on the survival of the Cuban revolution.” Even the Cuban president’s fiercest critics would find it hard to disagree with that. The catastrophic withdrawal of Soviet support in the 1990s and the overnight loss of Cuba’s main markets and suppliers plunged the Caribbean island into a grim period of retrenchment, known euphemistically as the “special period”.

In Miami, the heirs of the grisly US-backed dictator Fugencio Batista prepared to return in triumph to reclaim the farms, factories and bordellos that Castro, Che Guevara and their followers closed or expropriated after they fought their way to power in 1959. The US government tightened the screws on their economic blockade and around the world both sympathisers and enemies waited for the Cuban regime to follow the example of its east European counterparts, bow to the global triumph of capitalism and embrace the end of history.More than 15 years later, they’re still waiting. In defiance of the laws of political gravity, Cuba has rebuilt its shattered economy, held on to its independence, stepped back from the most damaging social compromises it had been forced to make and used Castro’s illness to begin the leadership handover outsiders assumed would never happen or would lead to precipitate collapse. Meanwhile, the leftward tide across Latin America and the consolidation of the Chávez government in Venezuela has thrown Cuba a political and economic lifeline, as has the growing economic muscle of China.

In the light of such a remarkable comeback – and given Castro’s history of survival against ridiculous odds, from the attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953 and the ensuing guerrilla campaign in the Sierra Maestra to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 – perhaps it’s not surprising that the world’s longest-serving president places such emphasis on “subjective factors” in revolutionary politics in this extraordinary account of his life and convictions. If ever there were a case of triumph of the will over objective adversity, the Cuban experience epitomises it.

Of course, the nature of that triumph remains the focus of a sharp global ideological contest, far out of proportion to Cuba’s size or strategic significance. In the past couple of weeks, what Castro calls “the empire” was outvoted by 184 votes to four in the UN general assembly over the annual demand for an end to its embargo, as George Bush openly called on the Cuban military to support an uprising against a “dying” regime. In Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times, one writer ludicrously branded Castro “another version of the tyrant that he replaced in 1959”, while he is routinely dismissed as a cold war relic with nothing to say to what he himself describes as this “decisive century” for the human race.

What is striking from the hundred hours of conversations with Le Monde Diplomatique editor Ramonet which make up this book is, on the contrary, the Cuban president’s capacity to reinvent himself and his undimmed focus on contemporary struggles. Far from being beached by history, Castro has in his final years provided a vital link between the socialist and communist experiences of the 20th century and the new movements against neoliberal globalisation and imperialism that have taken root in Latin America and elsewhere in the 21st.

Which is not to say that the veteran revolutionary is in any way reluctant to hold forth on the conflagrationary events and personalities he has been been involved with, from his earliest days on his father’s sugar plantation to his round-the-clock efforts to rescue Chávez during the abortive coup in Venezuela five years ago. There is a gripping, almost cinematic quality to Castro’s recollections of some of the most dramatic episodes – under fire in the mountains with Guevara in the 50s; his chilling exchanges with Khrushchev on the brink of thermonuclear war in 1962; hands-on negotiations with US-indulged hijackers in 2003.

Just as revealing from the perspective of today’s politics are his self-critical comments on issues such as Cuba’s changing approach to gay rights (“homosexuals were most certainly the victims of discrimination”); religion (“I consider myself largely responsible” for excluding believers from the Communist party); and racism (“we were pretty ignorant about the phenomenon”). Ramonet has been attacked for being uncritical – slightly absurdly since this is supposed to be Castro’s book, which the man himself edited from his hospital bed – but he in fact presses the Cuban president on pretty well every controversial question, from caudillismo and dictatorship to press freedom and capital punishment.

Castro has never been a political theorist – Che’s ideological arguments in the early 60s over planning and the market seem to have left him slightly bemused – but his speculations about the future of socialism are tantalising. He describes himself as a Marxist and Leninist (as well as an ethical “Martí-an” after José Martí) and is convinced the human race will not survive under capitalism, but also asks: “What is Marxism? What is socialism? They’re not well defined.” He concedes that the Cuban revolutionaries may have “tried to go too far too fast”, and speculates about what a restoration of capitalism in Cuba would mean, worrying about Cuba’s failure to break the link between educational achievement and family background. “Building a new society is much harder than it might appear,” he says.

For some, Cuba’s resistance to multi-party elections, its clampdown on those who work with the US against the regime, its shortages and bureaucracy mark Castro down as a failed dictator, even if the only prisoners tortured and held without trial on the island are in the US base at Guantánamo. But for millions across the world, Cuba’s resistance to US domination, its internationalist record in Africa and Latin America, its achievements in health and education and its pursuit of an indepen-dent, anti-capitalist course remain an inspirational point of reference. Whatever happens after Castro has gone, this book will provide an indispensable perspective on that record.

Filed under: Book of the week, ,

Book reviews


Stolen Voices: 

Young People’s War Diaries,

from World War I to Iraq

Edited by Zlata Filipovic

(Library call No.080 FIL-N)

Armies in combat kill noncombatants. Whether the killings are intentional or accidental, it always happens. Many men, women, and children who are trying to avoid the conflict lose their lives. All the war zone survivors lose family and friends and suffer great hardships. This is the case in every diary in Stolen Voices: Young People’s War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq, edited by Zlata Filipovic, whose tale of Sarajevo is included, and Melanie Challenger.

Filipovic and Challenger have been broad in their selection of diaries. The young writers have many viewpoints about the rightness of the causes of war. Some change their minds during the course of their experiences, while others harden into original prejudices. They even include diaries from young soldiers, who admit killing innocent people.

The last three diaries from Israeli, Palestinian, and Iraqi youth are especially powerful, as readers knows the situations are unresolved. The three all express helplessness. The last diary will be particularly hard for anyone trying to make political sense of the war in Iraq. Hoda Thamir Jehad describes American soldiers killing her friends and her neighbors as they sweep down her street and invade the houses. Despite this, she cheers the Americans for deposing Hussein and promising democracy. Her diary ends in early 2004. I wonder what she thinks now.

Reading is a sub-theme in the book. Most of the young diarists tell about the books they are reading to escape their misery or to improve themselves for a brighter day.

Stolen Voices is a book that should be in all public and school libraries.

Filipovic, Zlata, ed. Stolen Voices: Young People’s War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq. New York: Penguin Books, 2006. ISBN 9780143038719

Filed under: Book Reviews, ,

Young World Quiz (February 22, 2008)



1. Name the celebrated Fijian golfer, winner of three Majors, celebrating his birthday on this date.

2. The United Arab Republic was a short-lived state that was formed by two nations (one Asian and one African) on this date fifty years ago. Name the two nations.

3. What is the equivalent rank of a Group Captain in the Army?

4. Chronologically (year published) which is the last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels?

5. In which country is the holy city of Mecca?

6. Which animal could live in a warren, burrow or a hutch?

7. What are members, aged between three and six, called in Indian scouting movement?

8. Name the many-headed monster killed by Hercules during his second task.

9. Of which African country was Jomo Kenyatta the first president?

10. How is the comic book hero Matt Murdock better known?

11. What does the musical term ‘Da Capo’ mean?

12. In which Disney favourite does the song “A whole new world” feature?

13. How many dimes to five U.S. dollars?

14. What would a selenologist study?

15. In scrabble, which vowel has the fewest number of tiles?


1. Vijay Singh

2. Egypt and Syria

3. Colonel

4. The Valley of Fear

5. Saudi Arabia

6. Rabbit; 7. Bunnies

8. The Lernaean Hydra

9. Kenya; 10. Daredevil

11. From the beginning

12. Aladdin

13. 50

14. The moon

15. U (four tiles)

Filed under: Young World Quiz, ,

Book of the week


The Ultimate India Quiz Book


Derek O’ Brien

(Penguin Books India, 2007, Rs.250/-)

Library Call No: 001 OBR-U

The perfect blend of entertainment and education . . .Commemorating sixty years of India’s independence and reflecting India’s many facets, this definitive volume packs in 3000 questions in sixty chapters, testing the answering skills of any quiz-lover. Each chapter contains fifty questions on a range of subjects from ancient, medieval and modern India to alternative medicine, and fairs and festivals, Indian cricket, Indian diaspora, Hindi and regional films to science, traditional sport and youth affairs, travel, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. 

Put your knowledge of India to the ultimate test with this valuable volume for facts, figures, events, history, literature, politics, and much more.

Filed under: Book of the week, ,

Author of the week


Arundhati Roy

Books by the author in the library


Call No.                    Title


823  ARU-A  Algebra of infinity justice

823  ARU-G God of small things

823  ARU-O Ordinary person’s guide to empire


Arundhati Roy (born November 24, 1961) is an Indian novelist, activist and a world citizen. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel The God of Small Things.

Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother and a Bengali Hindu father, a tea planter by profession. She spent her childhood in Aymanam, in Kerala, schooling in Corpus Christi. She left Kerala for Delhi at age 16, and embarked on a homeless lifestyle, staying in a small hut with a tin roof within the walls of Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla and making a living selling empty bottles. She then proceeded to study architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture, where she met her first husband, the architect Gerard Da Cunha.

The God of Small Things is the only novel written by Roy. Since winning the Booker Prize, she has concentrated her writing on political issues. These include the Narmada Dam project, India’s Nuclear Weapons, corrupt power company Enron‘s activities in India. She is a figure-head of the anti-globalization/alter-globalization movement and a vehement critic of neo-imperialism.

In response to India’s testing of nuclear weapons in Pokhran, Rajasthan, Roy wrote The End of Imagination, a critique of the Indian government’s nuclear policies. It was published in her collection The Cost of Living, in which she also crusaded against India’s massive hydroelectric dam projects in the central and western states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She has since devoted herself solely to nonfiction and politics, publishing two more collections of essays as well as working for social causes.

Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004 for her work in social campaigns and advocacy of non-violence.

In June 2005 she took part in the World Tribunal on Iraq. In January 2006 she was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for her collection of essays, ‘The Algebra of Infinite Justice’, but declined to accept it.

Source: Wikipedia: Arundhati Roy

Filed under: Author of the week, ,

Article of the week


Ripples at sea 

Damage to under-sea cables and disruption in Internet connectivity raise worrisome questions.

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.

Goldfinger, the James Bond villain


Many of us literally worship the Internet for the amazing speed with which it responds when we either need information or want to communicate expeditiously with someone in a distant Continent. It is a reliable friend who rarely lets us down in an emergency. This reputation for high dependability, however, gets a beating once in a while due to an intervention by Nature or by man’s own proclivity to abuse all of the world’s gifts to him.

We know that earthquakes often cause a problem to Internet connectivity. An instance in point was the dislocation caused in parts of Asia in December 2006 by an undersea earthquake off the coast of Taiwan. This was taken in its stride as a natural phenomenon. Four recent incidents leading to widespread Internet disruption are, however, a greater cause for concern because there is no conclusive view yet with regard to what triggered them. They should provoke a renewed debate on how secure this medium is and how it can be protected from mischief.

Instances of outage

In the first case, the damage suffered by two under-sea cables in the Mediterranean on January 30 led to an unprecedented Internet failure in most of West Asia and parts of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This happened off the coast of Alexandria, and the affected cables, through which nearly 90 per cent of the data traffic through the Suez flows, were within kilometres of each other, strengthening the surmise that a single event was responsible. Speculation was that a few cuts in the fibre-optic cables connecting Europe with Egypt led to the outage. It took a few days for the service to be restored to about 75 million people faced with loss of transmission.

Before those wedded to the Net could recover from the horror that this communication failure was, there was the report of a problem in two additional cables. These were the ones travelling from one island in Qatar and another in the UAE. The disruption caused here was relatively low because one of the affected cables catered only to regional needs, and the other was just a redundant strand of fibre. There is no corroboration to a first report that Iran had been badly hit by this. In fact, very recent reports carried by Economist (February 7, 2008) suggest otherwise. Whatever be the case, the two disruptions, coming close to each other, showed how fragile the Internet was.

A third happening was the going down of a cable between Qatar and the UAE on February 3. There has been no controversy surrounding the fourth, because here the operator himself took the network off because of a power failure.

What was the root cause of trouble in the first three incidents? There are several speculations, some rational and the others a little too wild for acceptance.

In the first case, an early report suggested that the damage to cables was from the anchors of ships passing through the waters in the area. A spokesperson of the company that owned the cable said that, for some unexplained reasons, ships here were asked to anchor at a spot different from the usual one on the day of the mishap, and this possibly accounted for the cuts seen on the cables. When the second incident took place two days later, experts were not all that sure that it was ships that were the villain. Actually, according to an Egyptian government spokesman, no ships were in the area at the time of the damage to the cable.

A theory that quickly started floating around hinted at sabotage, and a number of bloggers were active in propagating this. The needle of suspicion was on terrorists.

This is countered by some observers saying that the former did not have much to gain from such an attack. Nor did they have the kind of equipment needed to cut the cables in question. These were at best surmises which we cannot wholly go by.

According to one observer, it was quite possible that the US Navy was active in the area, trying to tap the undersea fibre-optic cable for intelligence purposes. This is rejected by experts who claim that it is difficult to tap such cables because they do not leak radio frequency signals. Most of us are ignorant on the subject, and we have to meekly submit ourselves to be confused!

What is more persuasive, however, is the information furnished by Global Marine Systems (quoted again by Economist), a firm in the business of marine cable repairs, that damage to undersea cables is a common occurrence, and that in the Atlantic alone there were 50 instances last year.

These occurrences in West Asia cannot go undebated worldwide. Thousands of cables crisscross the oceans and provide the lifeline for modern communication.

Protecting them from routine maritime traffic is one thing, and guarding them from spy agencies and terrorists is an entirely different proposition. The logistics are forbidding.

This is somewhat analogous to the nagging question that anti-terrorist agencies keep wrestling with: How does one ensure that the huge containers that arrive in thousands from different parts of the globe at large ports can be scanned to eliminate the scope for introducing explosives and similar devices. Technology is improving but not as fast as law enforcement would wish. For terrorists, disrupting Internet connectivity is not such great priority. But it still offers scope to throw modern routine into chaos and disarray if not fear, their principal objective.

The writer is a former CBI Director who is currently Adviser (Security) to TCS Ltd.

Filed under: Article of the Week,

Cyber Quiz



1. What is the claim to fame of Khairat-Dhangarwada Village school in Raigadh district (Maharashtra)?

2. According to a recent Netcraft report, how many Web sites are there on the Net?

3. The second most most-expensive domain name, after, was snapped up for $9.5 million last year. What is it?

4. Jeffrey Bewkes is the Chief Executive of…?

5. HBO, in an attempt to generate a following for which of its new show, has decided to stream the first 15 episodes (of the 43) free of cost?

6. Who is the author of ‘Rule The Web’ about “how to do anything and everything on the Internet — better, faster, easier.”?

7. Which Web site broke the news of former US President, Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky 10 years ago?

8. Name Facebook’s ‘controversial’ ads system that collects and publishes activities of its users from external Web sites.

9. What is Kevin Rose’s biggest claim to fame?

10. Name the Forbes editor who uses the pseudonym ‘Fake Steve Jobs’.


1. It is the first pilot of the One Laptop Per Child initiative in India.

2. 156 million.


4. Time Warner.

5. ‘In Treatment’.

6. Mark Fraunfelder, the co-founder of ‘Boing Boing’.

7. Drudge Report.

8. Beacon

9. He founded Digg, the social bookmarking site that allows users to vote on their favourite news stories.

10. Dan Lyons.

Filed under: YW-Cyber Quiz

Young World Quiz (February 15, 2008)



1. Which famous website, now an integral part of a Netizen’s life, was inaugurated on this date in 2005?

2. What term is used for a robot that looks and acts like a human?

3. Of the eight planets in our Solar System, which are the third and fifth largest?

4. Expand ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, unveiled in 1946.

5. Which famous Greek philosopher was put to death by using the poison hemlock?

6. Fill in the blank: Charles Darwin began developing his theory of evolution while travelling on a ship named….?

7. What are kyats, kina or the kwacha types of?

8. What sobriquet for Helen of Troy comes from Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus?

9. In fiction, name the hero of H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines?

10. In geography, the strait that separates mainland South America from Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego is named after…?

11. What is the botanical name for the ‘stinking corpse lily’, arguably the largest flower in the world?

12. Who did the ancient wonder “Colossus of Rhodes” set to represent?

13. When a horse is moving with its legs advancing in diagonal pairs, it is said to be…?

14. Fill in the blank: Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia are called the three ______?

15. In Puss in Boots, what special function did the boots have for the feline?

2. Android
3. Uranus and Earth
4. Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer
5. Socrates
6. The Beagle
7. Currencies
8. ‘…face that launched a thousand ships’
9. Allan Quatermain
10. Ferdinand Magellan
11. Rafflesia arnoldii
12. Helios the Sun god
13. Trotting
14. Graces
15. Nothing as such. Its reason for wearing it so that it ‘may scamper through the dirt and the brambles’.

Filed under: Young World Quiz, , ,


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