Sunday, October 16, 2011

Library Angst

     I have a problem, I must confess. I am a book-buying addict. I do not use my local library. I did not even use my local library when I lived in a big city that had a nicer one.  I am trying to get better and am starting a rehabilitation program for myself. I don't really know anyone who goes to the library regularly, except for my best friend who has been a library fan as long as I've known her. If there are other people going to the library out there they are not speaking of it. If you have gotten in the habit of only going to bookstores and accumulating more and more books, I offer these thoughts to you as well. It is not satisfactory to give up physical books (ebooks just seem to be less memorable), but my book shelves are filling rapidly. It's a small step, but I hope it helps.

1) Accept that you may need to amend your "look for" list.  I hope some of you who read this live in cities with big thriving libraries. If you do, you may be able to find most books that you are looking for when they are relatively new. But if you live in a small town like me, you're not going to be finding that new release that you've been wanting. In fact, unless you're a fan of Christian fiction or Nora Roberts you may initially see nothing of interest. However, if you take time to comb the shelves thoroughly you may be pleasantly surprised to find some really cool things. I'm finding that it helps to go in without an agenda.
(Disclaimer: I'm actually a big fan of a good Nora Roberts book from time to time, so no offense).

Similar to my local library
2) Borrowing books is not the same as buying them. This seems obvious, but I was struck by the difference on my last library trip. I weighed all of my choices super carefully, as if I was buying them. I ended up bringing home three books that looked good at the time but lost their luster after I took them home. And here's the ridiculous part, I felt a little guilty!  I read one of them in a day, but I had no desire to read the other two. It took my husband's reassurance that it was fine to return them unread to finally make me feel better. "Return them today if you want," he said, so cavalier in his library ease. When you buy books you make sure they are ones that you are going to read because you are spending money on them, and they are becoming part of your permanent collection. The library offers you a great opportunity to flirt with authors you might not want to commit to, no strings attached.

Similar to what I wish was my local library
3) The library is free. I feel compelled to buy something every time I go to a bookstore, especially small independent ones. That is, after all, why they exist. As much as the owner or employees may love books, they are part of commerce and they only exist as long as people buy things from them. That's why, sadly, my town's small used book store also has tanning beds. It's why the big chain bookstores have covered up their book displays at the entrance with Nook or Kindle kiosks. They have to be "trendy" to stay in business and I would certainly rather them do that than go out of business. First of all, I'm in no way saying that I won't still be supporting these places. I love bookstores.  I could build entire vacations around book shopping. But I'm also charmed by the fact that the library has none of these enticements. They exist to promote reading and information. They offer story time for kids and a surprisingly good youth selection even at my small library. You can sit in a chair, read for hours, and no one expects you to buy a single thing. These are all wonderful things that we should make a point of supporting in our technology driven society.  Now if they only had coffee available............

Monday, September 12, 2011

Long time, no see

I love the fact that my last post was about how I was going to be posting more often and it was in February. I really do want to start blogging more and so I feel like I should blog about what I'm most passionate about... books. At least on that subject, I always have something to say. So look for a lot more book reviews and recommendations coming up in the near future.

My latest recommendation is a book that I just finished this morning. A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano. The book is set in Milledgeville, GA, Flannery O'Connor's hometown. O'Connor is not the main character in this novel, but she is the axis around which several of the main characters revolve. This was not an uplifting read, but it was extremely good. If you are interested in Flannery O'Connor it is a must-read. Napolitano's portrayal of the writer as a person is fascinating. Even if you're not, this book was wonderful. I was worried at first because the book's description sounded a bit vague, yet as I read it I realized there was no easy way to pin down the plot. Essentially, the book centers around several families in the town and their destruction and redemption. It's an easy read once you get going and totally worth the time. The book is completely fictional, but I am planning on doing some research to see how many plot elements were based on something real in Flannery O'Connor's life. I hope someone else will read this book, because I'd really love to discuss it!

My new read is The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman. I love to read Alice Hoffman in the Fall. I know it's not technically Fall yet, but I still had the urge. Something about her writing just screams crisp air and falling leaves. I've been putting this one off until cooler weather, so I hope I enjoy it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Returning to my Blog

I am hoping to start blogging on a more regular basis. Check back for more updates soon!