Suggested titles (2012)

Here I catalogue the items that TPL bought in 2012 after I suggested them.

Chihuaha and Fifty Shades Ratios

What is the ratio of number of copies of items I suggested that the library acquired compared to…

  1. Beverly Hills Chihuahha and its sequels? (Now all three movies!) 586/168 ≈ 3.49 (the Chihuaha Ratio)

  2. Fifty Shades trilogy (all formats)? 586/548 ≈ 1.07 (the Fifty Shades Ratio; denominator down from 635)

The Joe Special™: Single-item buys

Librarians, unequalled in passive-aggression, are now buying single copies of my suggested titles even though similar titles were bought in bulk. One each of:

  1. Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log
  2. Hello, Sailor! The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea (but endless gay bear erotica volumes)
  3. The Lost Album: A Visual History of 1950s Britain
  4. Put the Needle on the Record: The 1980s at 45 Revolutions Per Minute (catalogue entry ambiguous; four other copies later ordered)
  5. Reasons to Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles (but 5/12/2 copies of books on Saul Bass/Paul Rand/Will Burtin [only one on Dorfsman])
  6. Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records (but three of FAC 461)
  7. Masters of Russian Animation (from previous suggestion batch)

And two each of:

  1. American Voyeur: Dispatches from the Far Reaches of Modern Life by Benoît Denizet-Lewis
  2. Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere
  3. Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern (one circulating)
  4. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? (but 15 of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion)


List of acquired titles

Total: 586.

Title Copies Comments
A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division 10 An easy one to overlook
Art:21, Season 6 14 This one we went back and forth on too much. They already had Seasons 1 through 5 plus the tie-in books
Carol Channing: Larger Than Life 13 A bit blah, actually
Cleanflix 20
Chasing the Perfect 2 I submitted my own review!
Digital Vertigo 10 Should have been an automatic purchase, and might have been
The Driver 14 Ryan O’Neal. Better than Drive, according to Armond White
Eleven Minutes 6
From Cliché to Archetype 2 Reissue
50 Words for Snow 6 Library audio-CD acquisition is terrible. I shouldn’t have had to tell the library to buy the first Kate Bush album in 12 years
The Good Men Project 2
The Hours and Times 12 New Queer Cinema classic, but not very good
How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? 7
The Hunter 70 Amazerblades
JCVD 12 Appeared in the system when it came out, then disappeared
Life During Wartime 20 The strange saga of Todd Solondz films
The Lost Album: A Visual History of 1950s Britain 1 (!)
Life on Mars 15+15 Neither new nor popular, but bought immediately, apparently because it’s British
The Living End 6 They’re basically arguing with me about Gregg Araki films, suggestions for which I limited to those I knew were available commercially
Love at the Bottom of the Sea 9 Magnetic Fields
Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me 4 Another department had to say yes
Masters of Russian Animation, Vol. 3 1 Only one copy?
Mother, Brother, Lover 2 This is an odd one – Jarvis Cocker’s book of song lyrics
My Dinner with Andre 18 Replaces sole remaining VHS copy
My Perestroika 20
Palindromes 17 The strange saga of Todd Solondz films
Panic of Girls 15 As with Kate Bush, but here it’s Blondie
Pet Shop Boys: A Life in Pop 6 Concert and music-video compilations are poorly represented. TPL would never think of the Pet Shop Boys
Pioneers of Spanish Graphic Design 2
Private Eye: The First 50 Years 4
Put the Needle on the Record: The 1980s at 45 Revolutions Per Minute 6 Originally 2
Relax 9 By krazy rap band Das Racist
Revenge of the Electric Car 13 It actually isn’t very good, but it’s good enough for the library to own
The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher 16
RoboCop 21 This came about because another customer asked for ’80s movies. So we just thought up our own list
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies 8 Two copies of this oddball documentary already missing
Savage Messiah 2 An admittedly strange bit of zine journalism
Shallow Grave 21 Another example of holding one VHS copy of, and books about, a movie without actually stocking the movie
Shaping Text 2 Though they’re quite resistant to buying the second edition of Counterpunch
Silent Running 12
Soldier Dogs 4
Straight Acting 9 Two copies already missing
Talking Heads Chronology 19
Les témoins 12
Ten$Ion 15 By krazy band Das Antwoord
They Live 10 TPL had the book about the movie but not the movie (save for PE’s one donated copy)
THX 1138 14 Originally none (!)
Toast 19 …and 200 holds. Take that
Welcome to the Dollhouse 12 The strange saga of Todd Solondz films
Winter Kept Us Warm 7 Aboriginal Toronto feature film, which Cronenberg credited with giving him permission to make his own films

Nays, maybes, in-betweens


  1. RuPaul’s Drag Race: TPL doesn’t buy reality shows. Except this really isn’t one, and TPL does have The Apprentice and The Simple Life

  2. Paragraph 175: Claimed not to be orderable in commercial quantities, and seems indeed not to be

  3. Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride: Claimed not to be orderable in commercial quantities; director later tried to overcharge

  4. Unicode Explained: Errantly deemed out of date. (No successor book about Unicode for civilians exists, and the technology has not changed)

  5. Sketching User Experiences: This one is pure unadulterated stubbornness on the part of TPL

  6. Occupy: Not a pamphlet by Chomsky but a book by Chomsky. And anyway, TPL buys pamphlets

  7. Uncredited: Graphic Design and Opening Titles in Movies (movie-title designs and graphics are not “too specialized”)

  8. Admittedly obscure: Gran Fury: Read My Lips

  9. Inside Paragraphs: Claimed too obscure, but they bought Shaping Text and have long held Counterpunch

  10. Typography for Lawyers: Incorrectly claimed to be out of print. I got a statement from the author that it was in print and orderable in any quantity and we resubmitted. TPL management, known for its pique, pretended this correction never happened. Then they claimed it was too obscure

  11. Various André Téchiné films (some TPL already had)

  12. Explorations in Typography (Collections claimed the book was out of print even though I included a printout of the Web site from which one buys it; I will resubmit it)

  13. Numerous Pet Shop Boys albums, which I proved were in stock with the distributor; Amazon’s current stock level was taken as gospel, a recurring Collections foible


  • Joe Sacco: Journalism (they have everything else of his; it came in automatically in September 2012)

  • Urvashi Vaid: Irresistible Revolution

  • Geert Wilders: Marked for Death [(TPL does not like to buy from conservative publishers)]

Ambiguous cases

For a few titles, I seem to have suggested them just as the library already had them in process.

  1. Bullhead

  2. The Monogamy Gap

In one case the title was already in the system all along, which is a tad embarrassing. But it happened just the once, so don’t have a cow.

Where do I find movie titles to suggest?

Mostly by browsing at Queen Video, which buys almost everything and has excellent taste and shelves new arrivals the minute it gets them, embargoes be damned. TPL staff could do this as well as I could.

Updated: 2013.05.04