Friday, 6 July 2007

A Library Love Affair

Sort of.

This is getting ridiculous. I have managed to get two posts up in the last two weeks. And I don't have small kids home for the summer. And I don't work 'outside the home' as they say. Not for pay, anyway. So what the [censored] has been going on?

A lot of nothing. Plus, I have a post that won't work. And I keep going back to it like a tongue to a tooth with a chip out of it. And, yeah, I had one of those too, necessitating a day in the city. And visitors. And more visitors. And the younger daughter loaned me a new book in a series we both read. Eight hundred pages, and I stayed up until some insane hour finishing it. 'Kushiel's Justice' by Jacqueline Carey. It's a strange sort of alternate world drama and both the YD and I are hopelessly addicted to it. I am also reading something Worthy, just as an antidote, but it's not half as much fun.

There should be a Fiction Reader's Anonymous for addicts like me. All my life I have read voraciously, and often not too wisely, anything with print on it that comes my way. I love fiction the most, however. One of the schools I went to as a small girl had a library that we were allowed to check books out of. I trudged home three times a week with the maximum allowed number. Mostly story books. I read my way through the shelves for my grade level and started to inch upward. From time to time the librarian would look at me severely and make me read a page of something I had chosen before she would let me take it out, but mostly she just let me alone, bless her. In addition to these books, my parents took me regularly to the Carnegie Library downtown, and I again took out the maximum number of books allowed.

When I started to high school, the library was guarded by a miserable little dried up prune of a woman who would not let me take very many books out, but there was a branch library close to the school and somehow I persuaded the librarian there to give me an adult card. I also worked there shelving books, enabling me to find lots of fascinating stuff. And I discovered pulp science fiction; I needed the job to finance my Amazing Stories habit.

At university, the course I was taking allowed me to have a stacks pass. I also worked as a shelver and finder for students not deemed worthy of the honour. This enabled me to hide any book I particularly wanted in the depths of the Latin translations or early Canadian poets, so that I got first crack at assigned topics. I also signed up for the town library since Douglas Memorial Library on campus did not cater to my fantasy and historical fiction habit. There I discovered Tolkein, read 'The Fellowship of the Ring' and waited most of the second term for some evil critter to turn the second volume back in so that I could read the next two books in order. I think the scum stole the book because it never did come back and I finally succumbed and read 'The Return of the King' out of order and failed my Philosophy exam in the process.

After I was married and working I joined a library everywhere we lived, prioritizing it over joining the church or finding a doctor. I used to take the baby in a backpack until the day when she stood up in the backpack, reached for the books and managed to drop a large tome on my head. After that both daughters stayed home with their dad for a while until they were old enough to be trusted with books not their own. Then we all went to the library. I still remember with laughter one trip when the YD was just learning to read. We all got home with our pile of books and sat down to gloat over them. YD trotted over to her dad, lugging her choice.
'Daddy, read to me?'
'No, honey, I'm busy reading.'
'Mommy, read to me?'
'No, I want to look at my own books.'
'Sister, read to me?'
'No, I'm reading my own book'.
Big sigh.
'Well,' she said, ' I will just have to read to mine own self.' And she plunked down on the floor and did so.

One of the biggest days of my life was the day I finally had enough disposable income that I could buy (and keep!) books that I wanted when they first came out. Without waiting for the paperback. Without going on the library waiting list.

I now have a room full of books, and another roomfull in boxes waiting for the shelves to be made on which they will sit in glory.

I have a good start on my very own library.


  1. My local library is run by a little old prune woman who begrudges letting people sign out books and scathingly calls little kids who like to read "bookworms".

  2. We are a family of readers, and so when we bought this big old house the firs thing we did is turn the dining room into a library.
    Someday, it will have floor to ceiling bookshelves. Right now it has 3 double doored glass bookshelves, along with a six foot one.
    In the adjoining room, there are two more 6 ft ones...and each of us have them in our rooms as well.

    It kills me when i hear someone in our house say...the is nothing to read!

    We also have a rule in our house that you cannot watch the movie version of something if you haven't read the book. (exception is Bug who is six...she has seen the Harry Potter movies, but has started to read the first book. On. Her. Own.)

    One can NEVER have too many books.

    Enjoy your library!

  3. Oh, no, Beck. That is horrible!

    I'm like you, Mary -- a fast and furious reader. It's one of the sadnesses of my life that my older son views reading to be just a chore. I had so wanted to share this wonderful world of books with him. And the child was read to ALL the time. I don't know how this happened. ;)

  4. Ooh! Ooh! (Jumping up & down.) Me too! Our sunroom has become the library and yet I still have stacks and stacks in our room awaiting even more shelves. My parents' house was the same.

    I know what you mean about posts that don't work. Sometimes I'll post one if I'm desparate, but I just *finally* made myself clean out my drafts that have never cut the mustard. I deleted 11 of them thus keeping myself from ever tormenting the internet with them.

  5. Beck,Kim, maybe we should join together as 'Bookworms and proud of it'? Do you find it emotionally painful to part with a book? I have books of my parents' that I will probably never read, but I can't bear to part with them.

    LM, I just redid the stupid thing *again* and I have posted it. But it sure evolved a lot.

    SM, don't give up. My BIL had an inspired teacher in Grade 10 who turned him on to reading, but he was bookphobic up until then. Maybe you should tell him he can't touch the books, hmm? That ought to do it.