Oh, man, I'm really blowing my street cred here. This weekend, I did something I've been looking forward to since I moved up here a month-and-a-half ago. Something that made me actually EAGER to go to the BMV and get my new driver's license. Yes, friends - I got my new library card.
Say what you will about e-readers and the glories of Barnes and Noble but I will always have the fondest of feelings for libraries. Where else can you stack your arms full of interesting books and not fret over the price or whether you'll actually read and enjoy them (I'm notoriously picky about books - if the first page doesn't catch me, we're done)? Or grab all the latest gossip mags and read them, uninterrupted by pesky sales clerks or shoppers, to you heart's content? And don't get me started on the other media. My whole college-radio-dj career rested on the Indianapolis library's unending catalog of mainstream and obscure musical acts. And countless car trips have been made bearable thanks to library-owned books on tape.
If you need further convincing, understand this: Libraries are like the cheaper, greener version of Amazon. What could be better than that?
So, along with recording this joyous event I'd like to suggest an author to grace your library account: Alexandra Fuller.
Ms. Fuller is an author I first read in college, I think, and have followed ever since. Her writing - memories of her life in Africa - is incredibly engrossing and evocative. The Africa of her books is endlessly complex- both racially (she's a white African and very clearly addresses the racial issues that status implies) and culturally. The environment is at once deadly and hauntingly beautiful. The scrapings of survival are both inherently noble and inherently futile. It makes me want to overcome all fears and travel to this amazingly diverse and challenging part of the world.
Her newest books is "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness" -a portrait of her mother, a Welsh settler in southern Africa. I just started last night - want to jump on the train and read along?
Support your libraries, folks! And if you've got a great book going, share with the class in the comments!