Wednesday, August 19, 2009

better than ice cream, definitely

I have rediscovered the library. No surprise there, I guess, since everyone is trying to save money these days. I do think it is surprising that I ever stopped going to the library, however. I am a huge lover of all things having to do with the library. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by bajillions of books. I loved to study there in law school, would do most of my work there in college, even some of my earliest memories of childhood take place in libraries.

My mom used to take me to the library in downtown San Francisco on a weekly basis, and I can remember stomping up and down the stairs in the sweeping entrance. I would climb to the top of the staircase and then slide down the smooth surface under the banisters right next to the steps. If I think hard, I can almost feel the coolness of the dim hallways, hear the way my feet would make echoes as we walked from room to room. She never gave me a limit on how many books I could take home, and I would obsess over my choices, filling up a huge bag that we would tote to the checkout.

I really love libraries.

It is different with a toddler and a baby, of course. My trips to the library are rushed and hectic, trying to manage the task of picking out books for Gabe and Josie, and then running quickly through the adult section with only 30 seconds to pick out books for myself. I hit the gold mine this week, though.

I am one of those people who cannot put down a book, even if I don't like it, even if I think it is terrible. I have to see it through, find out how it ends, give the author a chance to redeem herself. When I find a book I love, I am almost an addict. I can't stop reading; I stay up late to get through one more chapter that turns into ten more chapters. It is terrible. Sometimes I even force myself to take a break from reading and that never-ending draw of the novel on my nightstand.

This book, though. Wow. This book is so good, I don't want to stay up late reading it, I want to draw it out. I want to make it last all week rather than rush to find out how it ends. A book like this is, well, I don't know. I won't say it is better than sex, but it is close.

Tell me you've read something this good this summer, please. I'm not done yet, but I'm already feeling how disappointing it is going to be to close these pages and slide it into the library return slot.


Chatty Cricket said...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

READ IT. You're welcome.


YG&B said...

i used to love libraries when i was a kid too! then we moved to the 'burbs and the libraries were small and sad, not giant and soaring like the libraries i remembered. anyhoo, you need to read "shogun" by james clavell. you will not be able to put it down, the characters will stay with you for years and you will be forever in my debt. as if you weren't already.

Beth said...

That is such a great book - I loved it. Another good one is the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Enjoy! And I love libraries too. That is all x

Karen said...

I 100% agree, that book is AMAZING. I just bought his new one, The Angel's Game and can't wait to devour it!

Summer said...

I feel much the same way about libraries... actually, when my FIL was first hatching the plan to get us to move to his town in Florida, he made a point of telling me that the libraries in this county are wonderful. (He wasn't lying. They are nice.) It's even better now that my son is a devoted reader, and I hadn't realized until I read this how luxurious our trips to the library are. First we go to the kid's section and pick out his novels, and then we walk back to the fiction section, where I plop him on a chair to read one of his books while I pick out my books at leisure.

One author I've been reading a lot of this summer is Gillian Bradshaw. She writes wonderful novels about real characters from history, like Archimedes or Caesarion, the son of Cleopatra and Caesar.

I do that same "one more chapter" thing at bedtime, too. I often will chose to watch TV at night rather than read, because at least then there will be a set time when a show will end and I can go to bed without regrets!

ttulizzy said...

As a librarian, your post made my heart very happy!

I'm a children's librarian so I read all sorts of kids books, but I read Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger last week while on vacation and they are both awesome.

Hooray for libraries!

Carol said...

Do NOT fail to read "Drowning Ruth" and "All is Vanity", both by Christina Schwarz. Brilliant!

Sam's Mom said...

Handle with Care, as previously suggested, was a fantastic summer read. Also- The Book of Negroes, which I believe has a different title in the U.S.- by Lawrence Hill. LOVED it. Couldn't put it down - and every woman in my book club agreed.

zeebah said...

Ooh! That one looks good... will have to find a copy to read. PS- new blog... follow my link to see! :)

Kristin said...

I just added your recommendation to my Amazon wishlist ... yeah, I'm still buying my books instead of going to the library. Like you, I loved the library as a child (I was devastated when we moved to a new town where the library carried no Nancy Drew novels.) Like you, I get addicted when a book is really good and will stay up all night reading it. Unlike you, I no longer read a book all the way through if I'm not feeling it. In fact, I've gotten into the really bad habit of starting and never finishing books, even if I do kinda like them. I probably have nearly a dozen half-read novels lying about. Which leads me to why I don't frequent the library anymore - I can never manage to finish the books and return them on time. I get all book-drunk at the library and check out more than I can honestly read in two months, let alone two weeks.