So, as we approach the financial straitjacket of my unemployment running out, and we put on our game faces to buckle down, I tell my husband (with some righteous martyrdom in my tone), that instead of buying a new book, (or four), I will instead pay off my library card fine, and go to the library from now on.
He gives me a skeptical look. "You mean paying off your library card fines so you can rack up a new set of late fees instead of just buying the books you want?"
Normally I would have a stinging rebuttal that would still be sizzling the hair off his ears two hours later, but unfortunately, he does have a point.
I'm a weak person when it comes to fidelity in my library relationships. It's not that I don't love the library. I do. But it's the same pattern, every time. The relationship will be all shiny and new, and it's all great. They'll give me all the books I can handle, and I'll faithfully return them on time. The first few times. Then maybe I'll lose one of the books, or it migrates under the bed. And then I start with the excuses. "Oh no, I know where it is, I just forgot to grab it on the way out." But the fine keeps ticking over, until the library won't accept my lame mutterings, and won't let me have any more books. And when that line's been drawn by the righteously indignant library, I skulk off, muttering something about how it'll miss me when I'm gone, because I'm a REAL reader, and I LOVE books, and libraries NEED people like me.
Months go by. Sometimes years. And I come crawling back, with quiet dignity. I pay off the max fine. And we start the cycle over again. In some ways, it's not cheaper than buying the books I like enough to read more than once.
But it IS cheaper than buying books I'd like to read just to see if I like an author or not. So I'm crawling back to the library tomorrow, because I'm wanting to get current with the current mystery crop, and it's a professional expense dammit.
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