Well, I just returned from my local library. Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain. I really do have good reasons for coming home with a small pile of books. As a matter of fact, I could have come home with more had I had let myself. I do have some will power.
I usually go to the library on Saturday morning. It is a good excuse for me to get out of the house. I have a tendency to be a homebody during the weekends and my weekly visit to the library usually leads to other errands. Today though, I decided to go after work for two reasons: I had just listened to a short story by Lovecraft (podcasts strike again!). After hearing it I had the urge to grab a collection of his stories and sink low into a tub of bubbles. We are experiencing that kind of weather and I am in that kind of mood. The second reason for my Friday night visit is because it is the opening evening of the Friends of the Library Book sale. Now, again before you roll your eyes, understand our library depends on the money earned from these sales. It is important to give to the community, right? RIGHT? Actually I have skipped several of the last sales because the books consisted mostly of romance paperbacks. I missed the days when the sale consisted of books on history and other non-fiction books. I missed the hardbacks priced at only $2.00. I was curious, so after dropping off The Da Vinci Code movie and two unfinished novels, I headed into the library auditorium.
I went right over to the history section to see if perhaps a professor cleaned out his book collection. Don’t laugh, this did happen once before and a gentleman (I use the term loosely) and I had words over his insistence that he had every right to all of the medieval books on the table. The Librarian was upset with his actions and not only didn’t sell him all of the books, she insisted he learn some “book sale etiquette” or else face being banned from such sales. What really turned my stomach was his remark as he left with half of the collection, “my wife is going to get mad and make me donate these right back to you”. What, all those scholarly works were going home to someone who wasn’t going to keep them? What a jerk! Thankfully I did not run into him tonight, and was alone as I combed through the boxes of history books. One in particular caught my eye. It looked old and I have to admit the medieval knight etched on the cover made me pick it up. It is titled Treasures of Britain. I opened the front cover to see who published it. I have to share what I found, mind you this was published in 1968 England. The cover reads: Treasures of Britain was edited by Drive Publications Berkeley Square House, London for the Automobile Association. The Automobile Association?? What? Now, this is not a small paperback mind you. This is a large hardback; hardly something one would throw on a car seat and take off to tour the country side. At least this is what I thought. I read the forward and lo and behold, beneath the flowery language and flattery towards all that is British, the book’s editor asks the reader to use it as an AA tour guide. “The reader will be delighted to learn of and see the all the treasures the British Island has to offer”. I had to have it! Not only does it name every castle, every estate, every famous British person’s home it contains folded maps of the island; maps of the island as a whole and maps of counties. The maps not only show villages, towns and cities, they show were to find all the treasures the book highlights. The book even contains a key on how to use the maps. How polite are the Brits? Not only does the publisher offer maps to go with their book, they kindly wrote out detailed instructions on how to use the maps. I was laughing even as I stood in awe of my find. As a lover of British history I sometimes find myself reading about events I cannot place. This book will be a wonderful resource for my studies.
Two other books I picked up are not as unusual but will be of use to me. For some time I have been meaning to pick up The Pilgrim’s Progress so when I found a copy for .50 cents I put it in my basket. The book The Millennium Myth Love and Death at the End of Time is a collection of apocalyptic myths and tales. Not a bathtub read, but one that may shed light on myths I read about in my studies. The other two also only cost .50 cents and could not be passed by. The first, Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike was one I had never heard of but what can be better than a Shakespearian story retold by Updike? The last one is one most of you have probably already read, Midnight on the Garden of Good and Evil. No, I have not read it. Did not know much about it, but after reading the back cover I had to have it.
Yes I ended up borrowing a Lovecraft book, but now I am not sure which to read first. Good thing I have little homework this weekend. I think I may have my nose in a book for the next two days.