Reading Again

“Oh no sir.  We don’t ever take anything more than $10.  There’s a limit – and we’ll never take more than that from you.”

“No I insist. These books are months overdue and I feel bad that people may have been waiting for them.  What do I really owe you?  I’ve got like $23 or 24 dollars on me, how much do I really owe.”  The books really were months overdue when I returned them to the library this morning.  My fines have always been waived in the past but those were only for books a day or two late.  This time was different.  I didn’t even want these fines to be waived.  I wanted to make it right.  “Let me pay my fair share.” I told the librarian.

It was a different librarian this time.  The librarian that has helped me in the past went to high school with my father.  On top of that she has a son who was born prematurely as well along with another son who is named Liam.  Needless to say, we have a bond of sorts, and she looks out for me if I make it in with my books a few days late.  I saw her shelving books today but I didn’t want her help this time.

“Well, I’ll tell you what…”  she scanned in both books (Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.) and clicked away at her computer as I put all of my folding money down on the counter.  She slid the twenty out from the crumpled bills, leaving the singles, and walked over to her cash register. “I can only take the $10 today but your fine would have only been 12 dollars in total. Next time you come in, bring a few cans of food for the donation bin and we’ll call it even.”

“Sounds like a deal to me!  Does that mean that I can check out books again??”   I was happy and surprised.  To be honest I thought that I was going to owe a much bigger fine than that.

“Yep, you’re all set.”  She handed me my change and I scurried away to look through the shelves before she changed her mind.

Hell of a deal in my mind.  Ten bucks and a couple of cans of corn and I get unlimited free books.  Imagine that.   Even when you consider that it could have been free had I been more responsible in the first place; I’d still call it a bargain at twice the price.

In the beginning of this year I was flying through books.  Averaging more than a book a week I was also writing more but once I fell behind on those books it all slowed down.  I re-read some of my own books but the motivation waned and until today I hadn’t read very much at all.  I hit the Graphic Novel section first to see what they had on the shelves not expecting much but I was happy to find something I’d actually heard of.  The first 2 volumes of Bone by Jeff Smith stuck next to the two volumes of Art Spiegleman’s Maus that I had already read in March.  I had no idea what they were about but I knew that I had seen the Bone franchise on many of the ‘Best Graphic Novels’ lists I read on GoodReads earlier this year.

I walked around and picked up Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find as well because I’m in a big short story phase and saw that they had Stephen King’s On Writing which I have always heard good things about but have yet to read.  At the last-minute I hesitated on whether I should get the Bone books.  It looked a bit too whimsical for my tastes and I was going in hoping to find a graphic novel a bit …darker in tone.  Sure it’s marked as YA and maybe even written with children in mind but I figured what the hell, I’m so new to the genre anyway that I might as well just read whatever I can find.  I headed out of the local branch satisfied at the heft of the short stack under my arm.

Kid’s book or not Bone is well worth the time.  I devoured the first to volumes with Liam this afternoon while Karin got out of the house for a while to go grocery shopping.  We were supposed to have a nurse here today during my day off of work but he had an emergency to tend to with his own children at home, so we changed our plans accordingly and took turns getting away from the house for a bit.

There are more than a few more volumes of Bone for me to get to so I haven’t done any internet research on the franchise.  I won’t until I read the whole series, but Liam loved the stories and I loved reading it to him.  Fun, funny and quick, part swashbuckling adventure, part slapstick comedy , part romance and all comics I am enjoying the story of Phoney Bone, Fone Bone and Smiley Bone.  I’ll keep you posted if anything changes in future volumes but part way through the saga I’d definitely recommend.

Each of the past few years I have set goals for how many new books I’d like to read.  While it’s now unlikely that I’ll hit my target after taking these past 2 months off — it’s days like today that make me think it’s still possible.  Moving forward, all it will cost me is a couple of canned goods (providing that I renew and return on time).  Such a small price to pay.  Support your local libraries folks, I know that I always will.

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