Public Library Superstar

I have good news for you; it involves you saving $299.

The Kindle is not my cup of tea. It’s a silly piece of plastic that pales in every way to the eternal treasure of books. The leafy guts awaiting your bookmark. The colorfully-spined shelf proclaimers. Books are real bridges between modern and past lives. Between us now and who we were last week or 300 years ago.

Yeah, I get it that you aren’t flush with cash and can’t just drop $16.95 at Barnes & Noble for [insert favorite author here]’s newest book. But, it’s very likely that at least 200 copies of that book are within your 10-mile vicinity. And, get this, for absolutely no charge at all.

Enter stage left: Public Library!

Three reasons why the library kicks ass:

  1. It’s FREE. And unlike public radio, no one pesters you about donating during fund drives. Of course, when you win the lottery, a sizable donation to your local library system is totally in order. Until then, enjoy and think thankful thoughts (which includes being nice to circulation and hold-desk workers.)

  2. The tactile experience of a book remains intact. I can’t imagine slogging through Anna Karenina on a piece of plastic that never lets me feel in my hands the proof of progress. The shifting tide from ‘just started, never gonna finish’ to ‘hell yeah fools, I’m smoking through Tolstoy’.

  3. They even give you a deadline! The due date concept is a splendidly positive approach to utilizing human nature for both the system’s and the reader’s benefit. Buying books outright is a surefire way to never read books. We are humans; we need deadlines.

I will admittedly mention how the absence of 5 different books from your satchel makes quite another physical impression on people, a positive one. But how many books are you really going to read on your weekend trip? Exercising our choice muscles is good for us. It stops the out of control wheel of possibility, our expansive cravings for infinite selection.

Infinite selection isn’t doing us any favors. Part of the plan is to actually choose one and read it, remember.

As my bed-side stand begins to look more like The Strand, the more I just want to do a crossword puzzle or something else. Ominous pile of reading pleasure, no thanks, not tonight.

At this point, I slowly get to the root of progress blocks via a honed choice mechanism and imminent due dates. Thankfully there are deadlines at hand and all I have to do is read in the order prescribed by the NYPL collection system.

Close call. All non-priority books are carried safely away from the scene.