Finding a book in the library is hard. Last week, I finally went and got my NYC public library card, as I’ve decided that buying books is not very productive or affordable for me. You see, I buy SO MANY BOOKS. They’re stashed in every corner of the apartment, and even stuck in the decorative fireplace. They’re in my makeup vanity. They’re in the kitchen cupboards. Buying books is such a pleasure. I’ve written about the pleasure of bookstores before. But it's unnecessary; I hardly ever read a book twice. And my life is pretty unsettled. I rent, I move around, I work part time in Asia and part time in New York.
Maybe one day when I strike it rich and buy a big house with a big library where I can keep a permanent collection. Until that day, buying books, packing and unpacking for vanity’s sake. Ah, it’s just not efficient or easy.
So going back into a public library after so many years shopping in bookstores, I have to be honest - I was kind of lost. I didn’t have the curated visual guidance that is so carefully laid out for the bookstore shopper. I couldn’t judge books by their covers, that guilty pleasure both in life and in the shop. I couldn’t browse by the categories of “new,” “bestselling,” “award winning,” or by the more shallow unlabeled categories of “bright,” “cute,” “mysterious,” “pretty.”
I went into the library all hopeful and excited and proud of myself for being a more economical person, both financially and spatially, but then I realized that I had no idea what book I wanted to read. I spent probably half and hour trying to find a single book among the overwhelming meritocracy of the library stacks. Nightmare! All books lined up with no covers, just name, author, font. I picked up and put down so many books whose names or authors looked vaguely familiar. But then the doubts came flooding in. I wanted something new! I wanted something contemporary! I didn’t know enough! Why didn’t I know enough! Wasn’t I supposed to be more in-the-know about recent books?
I fretted so much over my choice that I ended up with a YA book. :(
It’s not that I dislike YA. It’s enjoyable, breezy, easy to read. My brain just feels a little guilty, a little like mush after the fact. Like staying home after work so you can continue to watch a Korean drama so you order a personal pizza to your door and you devour it without thinking because it’s familiar and cliche and tastes cheap but delicious. That’s kind of how it is. In the great Grown-Ups-Shouldn’t-Read-YA Debate of June 2014, I land squarely in the adults-should-stop-reading-YA camp.
So yup, I finished Find Me by Romily Bernard in two days. There’s not much more to say. Time to exercise.