A Face in the Crowd 

LIZ COLEMAN, reference librarian

I hear that you have a very interesting personal project that you've been working on for some time? I'm doing a pop-up book companion to Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

Why? So as to make the reading of Finnegans Wake more fun. It took Joyce 17 years to write it, and I really wanted to dig into it and understand it. People don't realize that it's a funny book, a laugh on every page, some weirdness on every page. But I think sometimes people forget to laugh because it's so darn weird.

How long will it take to complete? So far, I've done pop-up representations of the first 50 pages, and that took about a year. So I should be done in 12 years. Hopefully, I'll be done in time for the centennial of the book in 2039. I think this should get me through my 40s. That's my goal.

Can you make any money from this? It's strictly a noncommercial thing. I just show it to people. I'm like the David Blaine of pop-ups.

Do people come in the library and ask for the pop-up book lady? It's been known to happen. Teachers from Watkins bring students in to look at the special editions collections, and they'll say, "Hey, why don't you show them your pop-up book."

What have you learned about yourself through creating a pop-up book? I don't know if I've discovered anything new. It's just more obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Last words? Don't be afraid of Finnegans Wake, and don't be afraid of pop-ups.


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