Friday, February 29, 2008

Free Books

I have this new budget. It's called the You're Not Earning Any Money Rachel So Don't Even Think About Going Into Borders budget. It is surprisingly efficient.

But a girl has got to read, right? So I went to the library. I'm going to admit right now that I've always been a little snobbish towards the library. I like owning books. I like writing in books. And I like it when people borrow them and return them looking slightly more used - complete with dog eared pages and tear stains. You can't keep a library book. In fact, you have to get it back to them on time or else they charge you money. You can't write in it and when you really love a good book and your friends are over for book club and you're telling them about it and want to lend it to them you can't because you already gave it back to the library. You can see why my previous budget was the Pay Your Bills and Give the Rest to Borders budget.

And yet, being in the library the other day made me feel a little penitent about all those harsh feelings I've been holding onto. There are shelves and shelves of books that you can take for free. And you get a card that makes you feel like you're part of a club or something.*. And there are people all around. Upland people. I got the same feeling there that I get when I vote or go to a parade. Like, "Yeah! We're a community! Let's all read!" I wanted to high five someone.

Except that a high five would have been impossible that day because based on several recommendations, I checked out Atlas Shrugged and my arms were too busy going numb from the weight of it. That is one fatty book.

*I do wish that instead of a card they had a special library windbreaker with my name embroidered on the front. That would really feel club like.


Amanda said...

I am absolutely in love with libraries. When we first moved here the only place I could consistently find in town was the library. And let me tell you, it is a new and GORGEOUS library. I knew the moment I stepped inside that this was a town I wanted to live in. If they built such a beautiful library, I needed to be part of that.
I still love it, but I am overdue charge girl of the month. I am no longer allowed to take home books until I pay them some more money. Since what I owe them is approximately the cost of a book, I've just been buying books instead of paying the fines.

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you for going to the library. I'm a big fan of interlibrary loans. You can get anything you want! And then, if you are halfway through a book and realize it's complete and utter garbage, you feel a lot less attached and can PUT IT DOWN!!! Yes, this was a revelation to me. You can stop halfway through a piece of trash, drive it to the library, and put it in a giant book bucket! Guilt free and regrets free because you didn't pay a cent! Hooray!

Nicole said...

The worst thing I've done for my unemployed budget was signing up for Borders Rewards. I appease myself by only purchasing items with 40% off, or in the deeply discounted clearance area. I bought a limited edition Voldemort lunch box for $1 last week.

Liz the Poet said...

Let me know about Atlas Shrugged. I've always wondered about that book.

Liz the Poet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cahoons! said...

Ok, Rachel, I was totally going to tell you about the good book I was reading because I thought you would like it. But then I was like, "'s from the library, I can't even lend it to her." It's true that you feel like a bad friend if you tell someone all about this awesome book that you just finished, but that she can't borrow your copy. I regret not owning this book personally or vicariously through my Mom. (I love having my Mom's library at my finger tips!)
The book is "The Woman in White" by the way.

P.S. I would really like a windbraker as well, I would wear it proudly everywhere!

Anonymous said...

LOL A members' only library jacket, I'm in love with this idea! They could just scan you as you walked in the door! But perhaps that's a little too much like Minority Report.

I've always loved libraries, even when it was cool to hate them. I love that they exist, and that they're a still-used public institution. I'm with you, a place that says "Come! Sit! Read! Shh!" is A-OK with me, there should be more of them. I actually have about 5 different library cards in my purse, not even "about", EXACTLY 5 library cards in my purse because I've lived in so many dang cities and many times there's more than one. Upland one is nice, I spent a lot of time there because I lived within walking distance.

By an odd coincidence I requested several books and a book on cd from the Ontario library only just today. They're ready for me to pick up at my leisure. For free! Who else does this? And by another odd coincidence, I use the exact same library card that I first got when I was 11. Manky yet priceless.

Anonymous said...

Who is John Galt?