Monday, May 14, 2007

The Long Arm of the Librarian Law...

From the first chapter of The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom, the first book in a series about a mobile librarian detective:

There is a terrible poignancy about a building intended for the public that is closed to the public: it feels like an insult, a reposte to all our more generous instincts, the public polity under threat, and democracy abandoned. Back home in London, Israel had always found the sight of Brent Cross shopping centre at night depressing enough, and his girlfriend Gloria, her family's swimming pool when it was drained in the winter, but the sight of the big red-brick library with its dark windows affected him more deeply, in the same way that the sign of a derelict school might affect a teacher, or an empty restaurant a chef: a clear sign of the impending collapse of civilisation and the inevitable bankruptcy, a reminder never to count your chickens, or to overspend on refurbishments and cutlery. No one likes to see a shut library.

Ah, very true. I personally think that shut libraries will be the seventh sign marking the end of the world. On a related note, just when I forget that truth is always stranger than fiction, I come across this little tidbit in an article entitled "Mobile Library Helps Extend the Long Arm of the Law" from The Gazette & Hearld:
Sam Walsh, a police community support officer based at Cricklade police station, has already travelled with the mobile library on two occasions on a route to the west of the town. The partnership enables people to get advice and help from the police while picking up the latest bestseller and it is proving popular.

There's somthing screwily funny about this. Shall I keep my joke ("Officer! Officer! There's a man robbing my house...But, can I check out this book first, please?") to myself? Yeah, I'll keep it.


stefanie said...

This sounds like great fun, both the book and the news article (and your joke). But is the book as good all the way through as it is in the beginning?

J.S. Peyton said...

Unfortunately, I can't say yet. I just got it in the mail today but I like to read the first chapter of all of my books before I put them on the shelf to wait their turn in line. I am tempted to let it jump ahead a few spaces but I think I'll try to finish at least one of the books I'm reading before I start this one.

Matt said...

I saw this on a table at Borders and thought it looked interesting.

That's a unique idea you have there of reading the first chapters of each book when you first get them. Do you ever get so hooked after the first chapter that you can't put it back on the shelf?

J.S. Peyton said...

All the time Matt, which is part of the reason why I'm reading so many books at once. But usually, by reading a little sample, my curiosity is satisfied enough so that I can put it down and come back to it later.