Libraries want their books back. Their DVDs and e-books, too. Cough ‘em up.
Well, guess what. I don’t want to take them back, I like them. When I check out a book, I wind up losing my heart to a character or the writing style or the jacket design or the author or the typeface. Something. Then I can’t bear the thought of parting with it, I’m too attached. Everyone has a weakness, mine is books.
Last month, I borrowed The Humans by Matt Haig. Now, I didn’t expect to like it, since I’m not a fan of science fiction, but I did. A lot. It was engaging and intriguing and a little sad — the ending brought me to tears. When the time came to return it, I couldn’t let go. I could not open my hand and release my grip. A half-hearted tug of war broke out with the librarian.
I’m telling you, returning books is distressing; like abandoning a friend or something.
On the other hand, using the library has made me bolder; my reading list has expanded and new worlds have opened up. I’ll take a chance on books I wouldn’t have considered before. I pick them up expecting the worst, but very often find gems — new authors and subjects in categories I’d pegged as dull, i.e., science and history and biography. As a result, I’m a little more fun to talk to, because I know things. Quirky, interesting things.
Speaking of interesting, here’s a little factoid for you: a study commissioned by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport found a trip to the library gives people the same buzz as a $2,282 pay raise. I’m not sure I buy that, but it explains why I spend so much time there. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for the library and everything it holds. They have free wi-fi, you know.
Obviously, the library provides a valuable service. So I guess expecting us to return the books we borrow isn’t asking much. Besides, you can renew them. Forever, I think. I’ve had Grumpy Old Men since January 17th; it’s been renewed 12 times. They haven’t sent the police around or asked where it is, so …
Oh, man, I need help. I can’t bring myself to return a dumb movie. That’s sick — I mean, Grumpy Old Men? Really?
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