Sometimes, shelving, I read a bit. But fairly speaking I can't read too much. I have to shelve. So I take the fascinating little book I find (and they are especially fascinating when I can't content myself with reading them!) and set it in some quiet corner of my cart. Then, when I am finished with my shelving, I look over my little pile and admit that I'll never have time or inclination enough to actually read them, and I put them back. But sometimes I can't bear to put them back and have to take them with me, check them out, and sometimes even take them home. Sometimes I read more of them, sometimes I don't, but rarely are they so compelling as they are fresh found on the shelves, with every sentence read of them done on borrowed time.
Here are three books to be taken home from my last sweep of shelving:
Writers on Books Loved and Lost, Overlooked, Under-read, Unavailable,
Stolen, Extinct, or Otherwise Out of Commission edited by a bunch of people. I guess the subtitle tells all. This book is at first glance so exactly what I am thinking about and it's so fascinating out of the gate that I think I better read some of it. My two fears here are that this book is going to go totally high brow (the list of authors suggests that to me along with my random page openings), and that I'm going to end up searching out, requesting from far afield, and reading a paltry two paragraphs of 24 different books. Actually, that doesn't sound so bad.
A Place in the Woods by Helen Hoover. This interests me because it's a book about jumping off to live in the wilds. I like where it jumps off from, both the era of the 50s and 60s, and the Lake Superior north woods where it all seems to take place. The book is maybe from 45 years ago, has nice drawings and, at first glance, pleasantly undated prose. When I went to stay on Lake Superior I was wishing I brought this book with.
Listening Point by Sigurd Olson. This is another north woods book. If you're not familiar with Sigurd Olson let's call him the John Muir of the north woods, instrumental in making Boundary Waters a National Park and, curiously, in making Point Reyes a National Seashore, or something like that, I don't know the story behind it. Anyway, my interest here is similar to the previous book. I'm reading a lot of nature/adventure writing and liking it. But the big appeal for this book is that it's rather special as a book. Fairly old for our library, it's a special Centenary of the State of Minnesota edition (so published in 1958), signed by Sigurd Olson and Francis Lee Jaques (the illustrator). Something about that physical brush with a different time, history, men dead for decades now, makes me want to give it at least a little bit of a go. Autographs make me go all woozy.
I've been meaning to write about the curated collection, but find myself taking care of that by continually nibbling at the edges of it. Here are three accidental finds of mine. I don't really know how good they are yet, but I do know they are mostly older and not so famous and popular that they couldn't be shipped off to the pound. We got some new program here that can make you up a list of things that haven't circulated for a year (or whatever). I don't entirely hate the program. I'm sure it's useful too, but I don't trust all the librarians with it. I find I am more interested everyday in chestnuts, hold overs, and lost treasures, and I think the balance is thrown off with this stuff already. But even in a suburban library only 60 or so years old there's a little old magic out there. And it's a joy to find.