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?

Category: books. There is/are 6 Comments.

I remain convinced that libraries are the single greatest invention EVER!!

I need book recs – I’m almost done w/ all my Christmas/Christmas-gift-card books, and I have not hear anyone mention a good book in EONS so only have like 5 books on request at the library, none of which are actually available yet – I think the first is set to be released in march.


Comment by jenn 02.01.09 @ 9:58 am

So what is the name of the book??? I am a voracious reader and am always looking for new books!!!

Comment by KaKi 02.01.09 @ 7:49 pm

Without a doubt, I’m glad you’re finally going to watch The Queen. 🙂

You know I’m a big library fan too. Today I brought Breaking Dawn (the last Twilight book) back to the library in Sag Harbor. I’m so sad to be done with the story (though I expect I’ll be re-reading the series again very soon – just ordered the books from Amazon). Anyway, I got into a conversation with the librarian and Julia Glass came up. Love that. Anyway, I came home with The Uncommon Reader so that brings our Queen theme full circle. 😉

I understand if you don’t want to divulge the name of the book you can’t put down (but I wish you would tell those of us who would be just as happy borrowing the book from our libraries – ahem) but what’s the Conn book??

Comment by ejbro 02.02.09 @ 12:03 am

Ejbro, the Conn book is The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti ’94. I’ve probably just hit the 50-page mark and will keep going. I’ve seen the book categorized in both adult and YA fiction, just in case you have a tough time finding it…

KaKi, I’ll send you an email!

Comment by soe 02.02.09 @ 3:03 pm

When I used to work at a library, the book compulsion threatened to topple the nightstand. It’s a little easier now not working in the candy store everyday! But hard to stop that hoarding feeling.

Someone here mentioned the Uncommon Reader. It came highly recommended to me by Of Books and Bicycles — hope it becomes available on Book Mooch soon!

Comment by Debby 02.02.09 @ 5:15 pm

Have you seen DCPL’s collection of downloadable material? It is awesome! Their audiobook collection is very extensive.

I am constantly finding myself about to go on travel when I realize the book I’m currently reading is almost finished or is almost due back. So then I request a bunch of books that inevitably become available all at once, after I’ve already left on the trip. If it’s a short trip, I can go to the library and claim my gigantic pile of books when I return.

One weird thing about the DCPL, in my experience, is that they never ask you to pay your overdue fees. I’m usually good about returning books on time, but I have fees from a book I was late in returning two years ago, and no one has ever mentioned it at the library.

Comment by caroline 02.12.09 @ 3:47 pm