Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Visit to the Library

There is a small but delicious library across the street from my apartment. They always have a rich array of new books and I always bring back a few books that excite me. There are actual librarians on duty who are more than willing to order books for the patrons if they want and since I am a member of the Washington County Library system I have a large number of books to choose from. The maintenance man here at the apartment complex said that there is a new county every two blocks and evidently not all counties are the same in the number of books the county library system has. I live in a different county than the one that is across the street where the library is located so my library card is different from other patrons. It is all such a jolly system here in Portland. I just love it.

The books in the library are all fairly new and right now I am reading books in the murder mystery genre written in the 1930's and earlier. ( I had a bunch of such books in my collection that I had been buying to read that I lost last year. )It is wonderful to be able to ask an actual librarian if it is possible to access a list of murder mystery writers who wrote in the early part of the 20th century. The young man did and gave me a list:

G.K. Chesterton
A.E.W. Mason
John Dickson Carr
Margery Allingham
Georges Simenon
Cyril Hare
D.M. Greenwood

Some of the authors I was familiar with and some I was not. I ordered some books from other libraries and checked out some books that I did find that interested me. He apologized and said that because they were limited on space they did not have older books. I told him that I understood completely. It was then I looked at the boyish looking young man and at the library collection and felt a pang of regret for there was no way I would live long enough to read all of the books I want to read. I felt very old. I also wondered if the people of Portland and all of the intersecting counties would understand their luck in having librarians and such good libraries in their town and surrounding areas. In Redding, it would never be the case. Even the school district in Redding did not have an actual librarian in the whole district.

One of the books that I checked out of the library was "Things I've Been Silent About: Memories" by Azar Nafisi. I had bought the book, "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and read it and found it wonderful and insightful. It was one of the books I lost in the purge in Redding last year. I had heard about this book as she put more information about her time in Iran and in reading and teaching literature there. It was ironic that I had that book in my hand as I walked out the door in Portland. I was reading books in Portland like I never could in Redding not that I couldn't although there was the purge of my books last year but because there was a lack of book groups and people in love with reading there or at least I never could find them. Here, there are many book groups in Portland and enlightened people to discuss what they are reading. They may not agree with each other but they are reading as witnessed by the Tea Party at Powell's that I attended not too long ago.

While I was at the library across the street, I looked at the shelves and shelves of ordered books, papers sticking out from them from patrons who had ordered them. Maybe some of them had ordered books on cooking, art, novels, and what not. While I was talking to the young man many had come up and asked for their orders, gave them their cards and he checked them out to them. They were of different ages and ethnic backgrounds. I was having fun trying to read the titles of their books.

I told the young man that I had a chance to become a librarian when offered a scholarship but a requirement was there had to be jobs in it. This was in Kansas and there were none in the state so I could not be approved. I went into journalism instead. Too bad I was not living in Oregon. He asked when it was I had this chance and I said 1970 and it was probably before he was born and he said it was. All of my years suddenly weighed down on me.

Still, we all have our allotted time on this planet in this lifetime and I would not spend it watching television or other empty activities. Reading is such a pleasure and although I can't read all of the books I want to, I will give it one good try.

No comments:

Post a Comment