Monday, December 28, 2009

The library is a veritable smorgasbord

Thank goodness tomorrow is library day. My stack of library books has dwindled to a couple of books about the dulcimer and a vegan cookbook. And I have a confession to make. I can't cope with the world without a library book to read.

Note that all important qualifying adjective: I didn't say I can't cope with the world without a book to read. I said I can't cope without a library book. There's something about the due date that just lights a fire under me.

It's not to say that I don't love books that I am given or that I buy. I read them, too, and I'm excited to read them. But when I get fresh new books from the library, I feel free and wild and luxurious. I like to flip through the first few pages of each book in my new stack, gulping down mouthfuls of words and gorging myself. The books I own I ration out parsimoniously, one measly chapter at a time.

You know, it's a little like that first hour after I get home from a trip to New Seasons (Portland's home-grown Whole Foods) and I want to try a little taste of each delicious item. I just want to see what that chunk of brie tastes like. I just want to know if those strawberries are as juicy as they look.

That's how it is with books, too. At the library, I blithely snatch up tomes for their gorgeous covers, grab slim volumes based solely on the author's name, or scoop up stacks of librarians' recommendations. There are no consequences for picking a book that looks better than it tastes, so I can succumb to tempation and take them all.

A trip to the bookstore, however, is different. My money is on the line. I research by awards and recommendations and I seriously ponder each variable. Will this book be worth my investment? Will it add something to my writerly toolbox? When I get it home, I set to work on it with perfect seriousness--just how I approach the ingredients my husband brings home when I send him out with the shopping list. The list is culled from the week's menu. There is no room for play in all that planning.

So I'm glad tomorrow is library day. I'm hungry for something fun to read.


Shayne said...

You would get along so well with every member of my family! We've only got a fairly small country library, but we all love going there. Add to that the state library inter-library loan facility and you're hard pressed to not find a book (or CD or DVD) you want.

Great post. Makes me want to head over there now (except I'm at work and I've also got half a library of unread books at home).

Winnie said...

Shayne--Thanks! I grew up with one of those small country libraries--the bookmobile came once every two weeks! Even though there was only one small van's worth of books, they opened the world for me.

Let's all skip work to go play in the library!