Saturday, January 25, 2014

Library Love

There I was with time on my hands and my promise to not buy books totally not on my mind: I almost bought a book. I wanted to find a book worth buying. I practically begged Kroger to sell me one. I circled the displays and shelves, flipped to back covers and front flaps, dug behind the face outs for hidden surprises. Nothing.

Okay, not really nothing. I'd just already read all the good ones. The gods of goals were watching out for me that fateful day. 

As I approached the checkout aisle, the need for a Plan B, a different approach to Operation: End the Reading Slump, became clearer than ever. None of the magazines, even the recipe booklets, even looked good. This. Was. Getting. Serious. 

I pulled in the garage and refused to get out of the car until Plan B was developed. Okay, maybe that's a little melodramatic and maybe I was avoiding carrying in all those groceries. But still. Plan B turned out to be a very sound tactical mission: I killed three birds (aka goals for 2014) with one stone (aka trip to the library). 

The Execution of Plan B: 

I stealthily opened the car door, slipping my feet carefully and silently onto the icy parking lot outside. Closing the door quietly behind me, I barrel-rolled to the left, jumped up to a crouch, and slid my hand up the car toward the handle on Bella's door. Reaching in, I unbuckled her carseat with one smooth, deft motion and threw her over my shoulder as we made a break for the library entrance, shielding her body and checking for the presence of enemies as we ran. 

Just kidding. Plan B went like this: 

When we got to the library, Bella came with me to the grown-up section where I hurriedly grabbed two titles, one from the New Fiction display and another from the Young Adult shelves. I tried not to scrutinize or over-think it, purely judging the books by their covers. Plus, I had limited supplies of Bella whispers, so time was of the essence. 

We stomped our snow boots across the building to the children's section where coats were discarded in an excited flurry and I was abandoned in favor of the train table. Picking out a comfy rocker, I opened The Map in the Attic, the book that had caught my eye quickly on the New Fiction table. 

A quick Goodreads search yielded a rating of 3.67 out of 5 stars, which seems low but is about the norm for anything I actually like. I wasn't familiar with the author, but Goodreads also informed me that it was the sixth book in a series. It was also not "New Fiction," having been published in 2010.  Not to be deterred, I opened it anyway. I got through about 25 pages before Bella came over with a book she found and asked me to read to her. 

I'd forgotten how much she loves the library. It reminds me of my own joys in the library of Ward Elementary, where I first truly discovered my passion for reading. And I love that I see that same excitement in her. Watch how she runs when she finds one she likes, how new ones catch her eye...

That is awesome.

After about an hour, Bella checked out six books, proudly carrying them to the circulation desk and handing over our library card. I'm pretty happy that one of those books has already taught her to sight read the word "banana." She also scored a Valentine's Day lift-the-flap book, which is going to be lots of fun and will hopefully put her in the mood to do some of the crafts I've been practically begging her to do with me. 

In the end, The Map in the Attic made the cut and came home with us, as did The Juliet Club, a Young Adult novel riddled with Shakespeare allusions. 

And as it turns out, I rather like fluffy mystery novels with obvious culprits and oddly formal dialogue. I finished The Map in the Attic today, just 24 hours after discovering it. I'm really surprised that it was my first completed book of the year, but I'm glad I silenced my inner book snob for this one.  Perhaps I will be turning over a new leaf as a reader in 2014. 

Three birds down: we had a mommy-daughter library trip, I read a borrowed-rather-than-purchased book, and I actually have a start toward my 50-book goal for the year. 

Much love, Library. Much love. We'll be back. 

How could you surprise yourself as a reader this year? And, more importantly, how can you intentionally cultivate a love of reading in those close to you?

Live on. 


  1. I too am a huge fan of the library. I haven't read a whole book this year and my plan is to read 14 this year. I have 3 ready to read but I haven't gotten to them yet. I need to make it a priority. Good for you for getting 1 book under your belt.