Every Friday, or whenever I remember to, I go to the library. Well, it’s more a case of whenever I have time, because it’s pretty hard to forget to go to the library. (Mind you, the amount of things I’ve failed to do this week would cast strong doubts on the truthfulness of that statement.)
Today, I went to the library with my friend Andy, because he says he finds it difficult to spend more than five minutes in a library.
How? How is that even possible? I just don’t understand people who can walk into a building full of books and then walk out again without getting a stack of books ten or so high. It doesn’t make any sense. And to walk into a building full of books with your book nerd friend who’s totally researching a novel right now (honest) … it’s just impossible. Seriously.
So I taught him to get distracted in libraries.
Here’s my method.
First of all, walk into the library with your bag full of last week’s books. If your libraries are anything like ours, they’ll be trying to cut costs and staff, so you’ll find yourself in front of a self service machine. Return your books. The top two on the piles won’t register, so wiggle them until they do. For some reason, the machine can only cope with stacks three or four high.
Express surprise that you had twelve books on loan. You thought it was only eleven.
Next, head over to the Teen section. This applies no matter how old you are, because there’s something just incredibly interesting about Teen books. I don’t know why, but once you get past the vampire books that appeared in the wake of Twilight, you’ll find all sorts of things. Some of them you’ll be thrilled to show the world. Others are your guilty little secret, but don’t worry. I’m pleased that you’re reading rather than watching TV and don’t even mind if it’s a hundred-page kids’ book.
Then browse the ‘Stories’ (formerly children) section, and see if there’s anything interesting. There probably won’t be for most of you, but I find it amusing to discover that a series I thought only had two or three books now has eight, and I’m actually about six years behind.
The next section is the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section. You can spend a while in here. The books just have such interesting titles! But you’ve still got Classics, Adult Fiction, Language & Literature (that’s Shakespeare and stuff) and Horror to go, and that’s not even including all the non-fiction, which I tend to save for another time.
If you can’t find a book to read, read titles. Because some books have amazing titles, they really do. Like, I saw one earlier called, Grandma, you’re dead. Okay then. If none of them fascinate you, try the ‘In Your Pants’ trick that I learned from John Green: add ‘in your pants’ to any book title.
Here are a few of my favourites for that one:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in your pants.
Infernal Devices in your pants.
I am the messenger in your pants.
The Fourth Horseman in your pants. (What happened to the other three?)
Life, the Universe and Everything in your pants.
Looking for Alaska in your pants.
An Abundance Of Katherines in your pants.
Thud! in your pants.
Going Postal in your pants.
And leaving aside everyone’s relatives (The Magician’s Nephew, The Time-Traveller’s Wife, The Abortionist’s Daughter, The Shamer’s Daughter, The Keeper’s Daughter… seriously, what are they doing there?), there’s one that has to take the biscuit for the best book to join the ‘in your pants’ game:
And Another Thing in your pants.
But moving swiftly on…
You’ve got your books, you’ve chosen them according to how amusing their titles are, you’ve browsed the DVD section and distracted the librarians by deliberately choosing a book which doesn’t work on the self service machine so you have to go to the counter and talk to them (come on, who doesn’t do that), and you’ve still only been in there half an hour. Forty-five minutes if you’re a slow reader and blurbs are like War & Peace.
And you’re asking me what you can do to spend longer there.
You just borrowed seven books from the library. That’s enough to last you almost a week. Now, if your libraries are anything like ours, they have nice comfy chairs, right? Purple ones? (Or is that just us?) So you sit down, you get out the first of your books, and you begin to read.
After all this about libraries, I thought I’d share with you my current loans. As you can see, I visit most sections of the library, so it’s rather an eclectic combination:
– Matilda (Roald Dahl)
– When Science Goes Wrong (Simon LeVay)
– Scat (Carl Hiaasen)
– Venus Spring: Star Turn (Jonny Zucker) – I have an excuse. I read the first one five years ago and have been looking for this ever since, didn’t even know it existed.
– Witches Abroad (Terry Pratchett)
– The Divine Invasion (Philip K Dick)
– A Hidden Life (Adele Geras)
– Hamlet (William Shakespeare) – I blame Maggie Stiefvater and midnight conversations with my friend Jacob. Just saying.)
And then the ones I had left over on my ticket from previously:
– 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C Clarke)
– 2010: Odyssey 2 (Arthur C Clarke)
– Private View: Inside Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre (John Fraser)
So there’s my collection of library books. What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of the above – if so, what are your thoughts? And are any of these books you were thinking of reading in the near future, in which case would you like me to review them?
Let me know in the comments below!
Also, libraries are good. We like libraries. GO TO YOUR LIBRARY NOW AND PREVENT SPENDING CUTS SHUTTING IT DOWN!