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enter the bibliotorium

09 Aug

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.

Wait.  Ugh.

No 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.

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20 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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20 responses to “enter the bibliotorium

  1. clevercommentary

    August 9, 2010 at 9:09 am

    The Golden Compass is good book.
    However the first 50 pages are a bit complex.
    And the movie pales in comparison.

    I like libraries, but I always wanna buy books. so in essence I am creating my own library, but get violently irritated if people do not return my books in a reasonable time frame. So actually I am a library.

     
    • Jessica

      August 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

      You can just be a library with a baseball bat instead of overdue fees.

      “WHERE IS MY COPY OF ‘THE SUN ALSO RISES’? DO YOU WANT TO TELL MISTER LOUISVILLE SLUGGER WHERE IT IS?”

      Libraries would be even cooler if this was the norm.

      Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you here before. Hello!

       
  2. Brittney

    August 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

    IS THIS THE PART WHERE I CAN TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME TO READ “THE SHADOW OF THE WIND” BY CARLOS RUIS ZAFON BECAUSE SERIOUSLY JESSICA.

    SERIOUSLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. you should read it.

    anyway I am forever calling the Library the Bibliotorium now. Also I wanted to let you know that I returned to the library accidentally last week and checked out the

     
  3. Brittney

    August 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

    ….WORST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ SERIOUSLY OMG

    ps: I left you 2 comments so you’d feel popular ilu

     
    • Jessica

      August 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

      Awww. What a sweetie pie you are.

      The Shadow Of The Wind will go on my list for the next library trip! Maybe I will put up a list on my sidebar of books that I am going to read. 🙂

       
  4. lisa

    August 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    The Golden Compass is incredible and far surpasses the movie. It’s been one of my favourite books since I was 12. Hope you enjoy it!

     
  5. sarah

    August 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    http://www.amazon.com/Thirteenth-Tale-Diane-Setterfield/dp/0743298020
    was recommended by a friend. i haven’t read it, though.

     
  6. amanda

    August 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? SUCH GOOD YA FIC. I highly recommend reading them before they make terrible movies out of them. ‘The Book Thief’ by Marcus Zusak is technically YA, but oh my word it is incredible literature. I cried.

    If you’re looking for non-YA books, ‘Geek Love’ by Katherine Dunn is pretty great. And ‘The Monsters of Templeton’ is one of my new favourite books.

     
    • Jessica

      August 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

      Ooh, you’ve given me a lot to look into. They’re all going on the list.

      Thanks!

       
  7. Tess

    August 10, 2010 at 12:42 am

    They can hear me in their hearts. Also I love libraries and I love using the feature on Amazon that suggests similar authors to safely foray into the unknown.

     
  8. outdoorexplorer

    August 10, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Ahhh I love books. I’ll second a recommendation for the Hunger games even though I’ve only read the first. I need to get the others. I miss netflix though.

     
  9. Vanessa

    August 10, 2010 at 7:25 am

    I haven’t been to the library in ages, but you make me want to go. It was always so much fun.

     
  10. clevercommentary

    August 10, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I actually don’t like “The Sun Also Rises”. I like some of the imagery, but am not fond of the plot. Or Hemingway in general.

     
    • Jessica

      August 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

      I’m not a fan of Hemingway’s novels, but I love some of his short stories. I think his style really lends itself to short scenes, snapshots of characters that linger with the reader, rather than a long drawn out examination.

      Honestly, I was supposed to read The Sun Also Rises for an American literature class. I think I read like, 2/3rds of it and kind of went “DONE.”

       
  11. rubybastille

    August 10, 2010 at 10:16 am

    You will probably hate “Golden Compass” simply because everyone has told you to read it. Also because the third book in the trilogy is EFFING WEIRD. The first two are about alternate universes and young love and scary Dementor-ish things, but the third one is totally about killing God and it’s intense. I still go back to them every few years, though, especially the first book.

    What you SHOULD read is “The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.” It’s basically a somewhat-true pulp written about L. Ron Hubbard and the other pulp writers of the era, and it’s epically awesome. But I know I’ve suggested it before, and I remember it making the rounds of our living room, so maybe you already read it.

     
    • Jessica

      August 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Haven’t read it, no! It’s going on my list. I think I was debating between borrowing that and borrowing the James Bond book when I was going to New York once, and I borrowed the James Bond book.

      You remember – the one that describes the ‘sweet tang of rape’.

      I’m looking forward to The Golden Compass actually! I know a lot of people like it, but no one has ever really described to me why it is good, so I don’t have specific expectations.

       
  12. Ashley

    August 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Ah the young adult section. It has, unfortunately, been far too long since I’ve ventured into that glorious section. All that vampire stuff has made me a little wary I think.
    Anywho, I remembered, after reading this, that my favorite books from that section, were the Hermux Tantamoq series. Hermux is a mouse. He’s a watchmaker. He solves crimes and whatnot, even though he doesn’t want to. He has a pet ladybug (!). Her name is Terfle(!!). It’s kinda like Redwall but not all medieval time-ish (and by “kinda like Redwall” I mean all the characters are rodents and other small animals which, for some reason, will instantly make me love a book more despite my extreme fear/hatred for rodents in real life) . There’s 3 books in the series and the first one is Time Stops for No Mouse, if you’re interested.

     
    • Jessica

      August 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      That is ADORABLE! I’ll check it out!

      Plus Terfle and Hermux are the cutest names ever. I am going to try to name my future child Terfle and Taylor will divorce me for it.

       
  13. Dertesafilm

    August 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    You might try, The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber. He offers a really well researched account of England’s past, but not like a history lesson — far from it. It quite naughty, in fact, although not offensive, and gives your senses a good shaking up. But you have to be ready to go into the seedy underbelly of the story with its interesting array of characters, and he’ll take you there, gently. It’s thick book, but his writing style is easy to master. The only complaint I have is that he couldn’t seem to wind up the story….kind of left you hanging; wanting more….maybe that was the plan. But do try it; you won’t be able to put it down. If you do get it read, you might give us your thoughts about the ending. I got my copy at the Arc, on 9th St.. They usually have a pretty good selection of used books. Hang in, Jess : )

     
  14. Heather

    August 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    TERRY PRATCHETT. His books are are addicting, and have gotten my bf hooked on reading, which means I know get to live out my long-yearned-for fantasy of reading next to a manfriend who is also reading. They are funny books that, while considered fantasy and have some elements of that genre and are also pretty awesome at being commentary on real life. I’d also recommend anything by Jaspar Fforde, starting with The Eyre Affair. I have reaped great rewards from my local Biblitoriums and have a fairly indiscriminate love for books, but I’d recommend those two authors to anyone who enjoys things that are good.

     

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