So, I’ve been left to my own devices for about a month now, and I’m getting pretty good at it. I go to bed at a reasonable time. I get up in the mornings. I put on pants before I leave for work, and you guys, I’m cooking food. Like, real actual food that you can eat! And in each of these foods, there are several ingredients.
I’ve also learned how to amuse myself in those long hours spent at home. I’m quickly running out of Netflix to watch, but I have discovered something amazing. You guys. Did you know about this? There is a Netflix for books.
You just go in to this place and they have books everywhere. Everywhere! Floors of books! All different kinds! Old books, new books, easy books, hard books, books in Spanish, books with pictures, books with big text or little text, written for children and adults and men and women and alpacas and galactic overlords and pretty much EVERYBODY. And they let you take them whenever you want. You go in and get a card from them, and you find the book you want, and then they just let you have it for like, four weeks! And you know what? They won’t make you pay for it. I tried.
It’s a modern marvel, a feat of science and culture in each of our cities, and they call it…The Bibliotorium.
Or the library, if you are a literal sort of person who hates fun.
So I’ve started patronizing the library more frequently. My habit is to pick up a book, read the back, scope out a few pages, and if it sounds good, I take it. This process has proved maybe half successful. I started Jailbait Zombie with the anticipation of some wry, self-aware humor…I mean, the title is Jailbait Zombie. Let me reiterate. Jailbait Zombie. Instead, I got Buck Manjaw, intrepid vampire detective who rides motorcycles and has strong opinions about the war in Iraq. As far as I can tell, Buck Manjaw takes himself seriously, as does his clairvoyant teenage sidekick, and you guys, where is the fun in that?
On the other side of the coin is The Serialist, the story of a pulp writer who gets involved in a freaky-deaky Hannibal Lecter style murder mystery. Our hero is neither bold nor dashing. Why would he be? He’s a writer. And he tells his story as a writer should, with his tongue in his cheek and an ecstatic enthusiasm for each individual word. The Serialist was a good book. Heck, The Serialist was a great book. It was the kind of book that was full of sweet, secret things that feel as though you thought of them yourself. Reading it felt cathartic. I admit, it’s been awhile since I felt that feeling, the rich excitement that comes from reading something fantastic, and now I am completely hooked.
I returned my library books well before they were due (dumping Jailbait Zombie into the slot with casual abandon, and depositing The Serialist with tender regret) and burst back into the library full of zeal. Any of those books might produce that rush, the feeling that an author has reached through the pages and seized your heart in their hands. I had no idea where to start. Biographies? More mystery, maybe, or romance.
I pawed my way through the New Fiction shelf, passing over glitzy pink books with titles like The Right Shoes For A Wedding, or My Mother’s Daughter, or Lilacs In New York, each being the gripping tale of a clumsy yet lovable big city girl coming to terms with who she really is. I glossed over eight James Patterson books with different titles and covers embossed to make it look like there was really blood spattered there, and I pondered over a novel about the difficulties of living with old people, until I opened the front cover and read “Airic and Legend have lived…” and I snapped it shut.
If somebody in your book is named Legend, you damn well better be writing about The Sword Of Fangl-Dr’th and undead armies of pixie-mermaids. And nobody should spell Airic that way, under any circumstance.
Also, get off my lawn.
Finally, I found a book titled I Thought You Were Dead, and every morbid bone in my body (read: all of them) cried out in delight. Unfortunately, it’s a book about a man and his dog, Stella. I got it anyway, because the dog talks and it all reminds me of my friend Tess who coos at baby lemurs on television, as though they can hear her. At that point I felt I had filled my New Fiction quota and ambled towards the comics. There I picked up the deluxe edition of The Killing Joke, which is only like the best Batman book ever, like seriously, where have you been. Great as it is, though, it would only take an hour or so to read so I wandered into the teen section.
My eyes were assaulted by Twilight wannabees, all with names like Heart’s Blood or Broken Lilies. There had to be an excellent young adult book I hadn’t read. I know there are tons of them. My friends are always talking about them, giggling over Beldric Bagglenoth from the Vopnir Chronicles or whatever. Finally, my eyes rested on an obviously worn and well-read book, The Golden Compass.
I’ve never read The Golden Compass. The book is based on that one movie, right? The one where Wyatt Earp is also a ferret or something? Yeah, that’s the one.
I brought my books home, a pirate’s bounty, and sat down to read The Killing Joke before I had even taken my shoes off. I’ll talk about it more later, because seriously, I Have Something To Say. After finishing it, I needed a dirty martini and a week in the Bahamas. I don’t even like martinis, regardless of how clean they may or may not be. It was that intense.
I haven’t touched Netflix all night and I have no desire to. I’ve torn myself away from these books long enough to blog and now I’ve got to go read the dishes.
That was a typo, but I’m going to leave it because it says something about my state of mind. I’ve rediscovered the written word, and it is like crack. I fully expect the Bibliotorium to start charging me any day, now that they’ve got me hooked on the good stuff.