As I walked out the door on my way to run errands the other day, I noticed a pile of library books waiting to be returned. I grabbed them, stuffed them in my tote bag (ok, fine, Patrick: I "gently placed them" in my tote bag) and worked in a stop at the library in between grocery stops.
When I say a pile, I really do mean a pile. Lots of books. Heavy books. Hardcovers. The sort that--inevitably--get dropped all over the floor, right next to the book return, disturbing the dusty, midday quiet of the library. The lady working at the desk flinched and tried not to look too pained as I cleaned up my mess. I gave her a smile and a clumsy nod and promptly tripped over a floor mat. She watched me walk across the room as though expecting me to start flinging books off the shelves. Because I'm a spaz, I hid behind the first shelf I came to. (Have I mentioned that I get really embarrassed sometimes, and for no good reason? Seriously, dropping a pile of library books and stumbling is nothing compared to the graceful stunts I pull on a daily basis.) I chose a couple of books at random and went to check out, trying to act as normal as possible. "Is that all?" the librarian asked. "Only three? But you brought back such a large pile. Ah yes, and you have $4.50 in fines."
Apparently, the shelf behind which I had been hiding was part of the "serious(ly painful) literature" section, because I ended up checking out some Solzhenitsyn and two Thomas Hardy novels. I detest Hardy. Reading "Jude the Obscure" was one of the more disagreeable literary experiences of my life. And Solzhenitsyn? I know very little about him, beyond the fact that being able to spell his name feels like an accomplishment. He looks interesting enough, but as I sit here wanting something to read before bed, I'm not really sure that stories from a Soviet work camp are going to cut it. At least all three books are trade paperbacks and won't make too much noise when I drop them in front of the book return.