Echolocation in Libraries

February 25, 2010

Last week I was wandering through the library in search of a good book. It was frustrating for while; I couldn’t find one. But since I was in a library, I figured it had to be possible.

At first, I looked in the vicinity of an author I enjoyed but had read too much of in the past year, and that didn’t work. Next, I hunted by genre, searching out authors I knew, but didn’t find anything I hadn’t already read. After I gave up on that, I found a relatively new book by one of my favorite YA fantasy authors (Patricia C. Wrede–and I recommend Calling on Dragons, for a start), but I can’t remember what the heck I was doing in the Ws.

That’s when I started thinking about how I’d made some of my best library finds in the past. For example, there was the day I got lost in a huge university library and stumbled on The Silence of the Lambs. I was thoroughly devoted to sci-fi and fantasy at the time, and that book opened up a new and fascinating world that was terrifyingly similar to the real one.

I had stopped midway down one aisle, and was looking around. No idea why; I really wanted to get out, but I kept looking until I saw the book that held two of my favorite-characters-to-be. I couldn’t even read the spine at that distance. It just looked… attractive, in spite of being the standard library book brown.

So, Ms. Wrede in hand, I imagined I was back in that enormous library, and slowly turned so I could see more of the shelf in front of me. It worked! One spine caught my attention, and this time I could read the title: Those Who Favor Fire. The author got it from a Robert Frost poem, and she put it to good use. I like Frost, I liked that poem, and I enjoyed the book.

I was perhaps happier than it made sense to be, on my way out of the library with my prizes. I felt like I had successfully stalked and downed something I was going to eat that night.

How do you do it? Aimless wandering, the traditional browse, echolocation?

P.S. Fire‘s Publishers Weekly review on Amazon contains spoilers.

Reading List

May 27, 2009

Remember reading lists? I loved them. One teacher dug up a huge one, just because she knew I would happily plow through the whole thing. Here’s my current list. I’m also looking at the site’s top ten picks for narrower audiences.

Fun with Shelfari

May 4, 2009

I’ve had an account with Shelfari, a bookshelf sharing website, for about a year. I’ve also heard good things about Goodreads, but haven’t tried them yet. I was poking around Shelfari a couple weeks ago and found a writer’s group. That’s the one I’ve been talking to about whether my expectations are sane. If you’re a reader and interested in viewing my bookshelf, my user ID over there is LMN. There are two of us; I’m the one with the lemon pic. My views on scheduling and careful planning are somewhat in the minority. An author with a more organic process left me a note about it on my profile. He’s a nice guy, and I’m excited to find that he and many others are so openhanded with their advice.