Friday, April 9, 2010

Libraries & Masterpiece Theatre

Books - They're pretty special to me. I love the line in Sex & the City when Big asks Carrie why she gets books from the library when she can obviously afford to buy them. She tells him she loves the smell. Me too.

My first book collection was mostly my brothers' hand-me-downs. There was a bookcase in my room, filled with Hardy Boys' mysteries and kids' histories/biographies. That bookcase did not belong in my room - walking into the mint-green painted room would not have made one think about a dark wood bookcase with Hardy Boys' books.

But I loved that bookcase. When I couldn't sleep (insomnia at the age of four isn't normal?), I'd re-explore that bookcase. It contained about 50 books. I'd go through it & try to find one that interested me. I did eventually read the Hardy Boys' books.

The library was magical for me - the Gaithersburg library burned down in 1981. When we read about it in the Gazette, I felt like my world had fallen apart. You see, I had NOT read EVERY book there. And because it had burnt down, I wouldn't even know what I hadn't read. If the card catalog was gone, so was my future.

I survived. The county built another library and I dragged my mom there just about every 12 days in order to obtain more books. She'd run over to the mall (not that I didn't go to the mall with her, but my mom rarely came into the library with me) and return in 25 minutes for me. (Who does that with an 8 year old anymore?) I would inevitably have 22 books in my arms and be struggling to open the car door.

Since I quit my job in December, I had been going to the gym, enjoying happy hour at Iron Bridge, and relaxing more. I'd do my strength exercises at the gym & anticipate my cardio when I could read. I'd choose a well-lit spot at the Bridge so I could read. I stayed awake until 2 AM often, unable to put down a great book. When I had foot surgery in January, I brought in a book to read while I waited for pre-op prepping.

I had returned to my old habits - ordering tons of books, like Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall using the Howard County Library system...I got up to 44 books being out. (Please realize, this included 5 or 6 books for Lily & a couple books about Disney World for upcoming travel.) (Not that this makes it any better.)

When I dropped off 2 books & picked up 3 last week, the librarian checking me out looked me in the eye, and said "You know, you can only have 60 books out" in a scolding voice. Although I'm 34 with a child of my own, I instantly reverted to "I think I have a book in the car that I forgot to bring in!!!" in a defensive, pleading for probation type of voice. And I did, really. There was a book that had been buried under the detritus of kid stuff & mail & newspapers that is my actually gorgeous car.

But now I'm working, which is preventing me from reading my books on a timely basis (3 weeks??? to read 40 books?? seriously?) (um, ok)

Howard County is sending me nasty emails every other day - "Notice - Overdue Items" - I feel so demeaned by the government to which I pay ridiculous taxes. (Sarcasm is evident, right?) I keep the emails because I think that I'm going to use them to categorize the piles of books.
  • go ahead & return me because you're not going to have the time to read me and I'm such a great book that 1) people are demanding me & 2) you don't have the ability to focus on me like I deserve
  • tenth of the way into the book & still not really interested & aren't you glad that you didn't actually buy me
  • 7 people in the Comments section of the Washington Post Book Review said they found deep, profound insight in this book that has changed their lives forever (this one's just kidding, 'cause I don't really read this type of book, but c'mon, you know what I'm talking about)
  • cover is fascinatingly intriguingly gorgeous - but the print inside is kinda small & I have to cross my eyes to actually read it
  • smelled good

Which brings me to Masterpiece Theatre. I'm attempting to watch Sharpe's Challenge. It's pretty good. But I'm forcing myself to watch it. There's no way I would have read this...military, ehh. I don't usually look to Masterpiece to substitute for my reading, but given the other 44 books I have to read, sometimes TV helps. Althought right now, I'm watching Sharpe cut a horse, so I think I'm done for the night.

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