So yesterday was the first day of my crime reading challenge. With the list of authors sitting printed on my desk I decided first port of call at lunchtime would be the local library. I often visit the library on a Saturday morning but as patience has never been my strong point I didn’t want to wait that long. The local library may be tiny but has a great crime fiction section and is 5 minutes from my office.
Luckily as I was about to leave, someone suggested I check the opening times on the internet – it was closed! Apparently it is only open 9.30 – 12.30, and then 2.30 – 5pm. Now, I am a big fan of the library, and realise that I am very lucky to have a library so close. However am I the only person that thinks being closed every lunchtime is not exactly a way to encourage people to use it? I imagine there are plenty of people nearby who work full time and would love to spend 30 minutes browsing library books rather than just sitting at their desk ‘surfing the net’
Don’t get me wrong I realise that even librarians need to eat lunch, and I’m not suggesting we chain them to their date stamps 24 hours a day, but surely just one day of the week they could open the library at some point between the lunching hours of 12.30 and 2.30 to allow those of us with jobs to use them?
Libraries to me are as exciting as a bottle of Chianti to Hannibal Lecter – but free and no need for fava beans to enjoy what’s inside. As a child we used to get taken to the library on a Saturday morning and whilst my Dad would sit in the corner pretending to read a newspaper attached to a big chain so it wouldn’t get removed (a practice he now does from the comfort of his own armchair, and minus the big chain) I’d be allowed to wander around the aisles picking out as many books as I could carry.
The downside back then was all books had to pass the Mother test, which meant anything perceived as too old or too gruesome was removed from my pile. The trick was to hide the ones I really wanted in the middle of a big pile of teen romance in the hope that it wasn’t spotted. Inevitably this failed more than it worked, but the first time I sat down and read ‘The Outsiders’ by S.E. Hinton was truly a triumphant experience.
Nowadays of course I can take out whatever books I like, although once had a very unfortunate incident when I accidently picked up a large print version, it was like being shouted at for 200 pages. However on the whole I’ve never been let down by a library visit, that is until yesterdays aborted attempt of course.
Anyway, luckily just like the good Girl Guide I was many years ago I am always prepared, and as a slightly obsessive book hoarder I have a large stack of books at home not yet read so I decided to pick one of them. The two choices that stood out were Kate Mosse ’The Wintergardens’,or Laura Lippman ‘Don’t look back’ I have never read any of Kate Mosse previously, and know that as she is one of the main contributors to the Harrogate Festival this will have to change, however the whole historical thing didn’t really appeal to me last night, so I have started with Laura Lippman. Too early to tell what it’s like but she gets great praise from the fantastic Tess Gerritsen so I have high hopes.