Tuesday, September 9

"Torture" in the Library

Working in the library today has been almost torturous. It's been aggravating and frustrating. The reason? I've run into an unusually high number of books I want to read, but I just can't check out any! more! books!

We're coming up on Banned Books week, when libraries make displays of banned books. When I saw the stacks of books being readied for display, I thought they had been pulled for a "classics" or "Great Reads" display! Here are a few (formerly) banned books:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera)

Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee Harper)

Beloved (Toni Morrison)

A Separate Peace (John Knowles)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)

Diary of a Young Girl (Annd Frank)

Enough of that; you get the idea -- lots of books for me to lust after, but I already have 37 books checked out. Four of them are due today and I'm going to keep at least two of those because I really want to read them.

Another display, about 10 feet away from me, is "Books about Books." I want to take at least five of those home.

In large families, I've heard, the slogan is "eat it to protect it," because food won't be there when you come around for it later. If you want it, or might want it, eat it now. That's my philosophy with library books. If you see it, check it out, because otherwise who knows when you'll get back to it?

While walking around the library with patrons, I've also seen three books that want to leap into my hands, all of which I've long intended to read. Though the "intend to read" list is approaching infinity, as I've said before.

One of the books I know I will succumb to because it is directly in front of me when I look up from my desk. It's the last in its row, so I can see the cover. I'm gonna break, I'm gonna crumble, I'm gonna check it out. Resistance is futile. It's like being in a cloud of buzzing bees or a crowd of toddlers -- too much commotion! I have to put my head down take a deep breath, and ignore those persistent thrills of "Take me take me/I want you I want you." And people say the library is dull.

It is probably more notable to say that today I found a book I didn't want to check out. It was a book lamenting the demise of reading, and the blurb was short on information and long on alarm. But I wavered--it might be interesting to check it out to see what his arguments are . . . maybe I should read it . . .

BTW, twice in the last few days I've seen lists of great or important or hot authors, almost none of whom I recognized. Truly, it's hard to keep up.

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