Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Confessions of a Book Glutton

The library is just too strong of a temptation. I can be strong in a book store, if I don't go in for more than five minutes. These things cost money! Spending money is evil! So the voices in my head go, and if I leave quickly enough they will not be drowned out.

Ah, but the library. At the library, everything is free. Free! That uber-libertarian voice in my head intoning that libraries are not a Proper Role of Government is not nearly so loud as the tightwad voices. Furthermore, the library has an online catalog, where no one is watching me indulge my passions. Just one more search, it whispers to me, one more book. I find another website with another booklist and it makes me want to check again.

Now I have not only myself to reserve for, but also the ducklings, and then there are books to preview for them to read in future years. It's always good to get plenty of extra because you never know which one will be just the right book.

As much fun as browsing online is, with the entire county's books at my disposal, it has never eclipsed browsing on the shelves. This is where the serendipities appear, the books that were looking for me. This is where I wind up with mammoth photo books of castles and obscure biographies of people I wasn't meaning to read about.

Unfortunately, I don't get to browse when the ducklings are with me. They want to browse, too, and somehow their browsings don't precisely correspond with mine. The train table, which might keep them predictably still for five minutes, is not within sight of many interesting books. As for the rest, I'm lucky to keep the ducklings in one place long enough to check out.

Checkout. Here is where the accountability comes. Here is where my gluttony is called to task and the pile of books I managed to browse combines with the pile of books I had reserved--always three times the size I thought it was--to make a unified pile of terrifying proportions. Keep in mind that on most days I must get out to the car while holding two hands of wayward toddlers, and then tell me how I am to transport the twenty-seven large books I just checked out. Big thick ones for me and big wide and long ones for them.

I purchased a large and classy-looking bag for transport purposes, but it's always strained at the seams. One of these days it will disintegrate on me. Those crates on wheels look practical, but too small. My mother used a laundry basket, but laundry baskets don't leave free hands.

What I really need to do is grow some older children who can carry piles of their own. Except they'll become book gluttons, too, and then how will we get out the door?


Jordana said...

Sometimes I wind up holding a chain of three kids by the hand, a baby in a sling and pushing my double stroller full of books out of the library. Our library lets us check out 25 items per card and we often fill up three or four at a time. When we go to check out, I see the librarians blanch.

lady laura said...

I can relate to so much of this post!! Even down to the uber-libertarian voice.:)

Mrs. G said...

while browsing the catalogue on-line is fun, it is amazing what books Have To Be Read you can stumble over while in the stacks :)

I, too, possess the inability to leave the library without an armful of books that I had no idea existed before I crossed the threshold :)

DH thinks it is quite funny...until he is pressed into service for totin' books :)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

A few years ago, I had terrible pains in my right arm.

After my doctor asking me various questions, he realized it was the book laden market basket (to and from the library each week) which was to blame.

I started carrying TWO bags instead of one big basket. :)

Jessica said...

I was going to say - the stroller isn't for the kids, it's for the books! Great post!

peace of Christ to you,