sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 1, 2009

i’m in love…
posted by soe 3:58 am

…with the library.

Earlier this month (well, technically it’s last month now, since the clock has switched past midnight, but let’s go by my old college definition that it’s not tomorrow until you’ve slept…), I took back some overdue library books, paid my tithe, and returned to the good graces of the DCPL. They are truly the most forgiving folks. They know — every record indicates it — that I will be truant probably 75% percent of the time when I borrow from them. I am perhaps less tardy than I once was now that they email me notices that my books are about to come due, are due today, and are now overdue, but, nonetheless, I cannot seem to grasp deadlines, or, at least, to take them seriously enough to meet them in polite society.

So, to return to my tale, the library workers took down my Most Wanted poster, tore it up, and offered me their entire store of goods. I was restrained … that day. Only two books hopped in my bag and insisted on riding home with me. I read one over the course of a few days. It was okay, but not good enough to be read straight through on its own. The other merited a chapter in the bathroom, but was not interesting enough to come off the cart in there. Don’t worry. I always read to the chapter around the 50 page mark before swearing off. What if an author, like Michael Chabon, is brilliant but inadequate at introductions?

I could see the winter nights looming large in front of me. Once the Christmas tree comes down, things just get … harder. They are less difficult this year, but that doesn’t mean the days flow before me like water. They just don’t freeze me in place with ice.

So I hopped online and started requesting some books. Some were books I’d read about on the web, recommended by online friends whose opinions I respect. Others had made the list of contenders for the Rooster Tournament sponsored by The Morning News. I’ve watched passively by the last two years as the books face off one against the other — and it was rare that I had an opinion, since I hadn’t read most of the nominees. Obviously others had similar grouses, since this year they announced the list early so folks could make a stab at reading more. I’ve requested all the books on the list that had waiting lists, so, of course, the library emailed me this week to announce that eight of them had arrived and were waiting for me at two different branches.

So much for trying to outfox the library.

I picked up the books at the main branch on Thursday and added another tome (written by a fellow Conn alum) and three dvds to the haul. (Erik, you’ll be glad that one of those is The Queen. I know you considered it a flaw in my character that I hadn’t seen it yet.) I was in the midst of finishing a mystery Gramma had lent me at the time, so I didn’t start a new book until yesterday — and picked the Conn book merely by the fact that it was the thinnest fiction of the group to take to work with me yesterday.

It’s good, but not great. And I knew that while I’d probably stick with it, it wasn’t what I was searching for.

Late this afternoon, Rudi and I headed out to Virginia to run some errands, stopping by the hardware store and the branch library closest to the Burrow on the way out. Four more books came into my possession. And, as they did, I recalled that in the first bunch was a book I’d heard such good things about that I’d almost bought it as a Christmas present (for you, Karen) without reading it. I’ve done it once before — with The Book Thief and The Thirteenth Tale — but wasn’t sure if I should trust to the fates twice.

I started the book when Rudi went to bed. I forced myself to pause a couple of times — mostly to make tea — but could not put it down for good tonight until 3 a.m. And really I’d read through until dawn if I didn’t think I really ought to see the sun tomorrow.

And, no, I’m not going to tell you what book it is. I have to decide if I should head to Powells first and buy hardcover copies to send to you all…

It’s that good.

Aren’t libraries great?

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