Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"A Day In The Life...(Part 2)


For the next hour and a half I kill time by reading. I'm waiting for my scheduled library time. A lot of time in here is spent waiting. Waiting for mail, waiting for visits, waiting for something good to come on TV, waiting for meals, waiting for release...It seems that whatever I do in those intermittent periods is just a way to kill time. Even reading, something I once took great pleasure in, has lost a lot of its enjoyment.

Today I'm finishing up Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. A great book! One of the few I've read recently that was really though-provoking. Unfortunately I can't lose myself in the story as much as I would like. In a cell block that has 120 cells and 200 other inmates living there, distractions are plentiful. It is loud. An argument has just broken out with one guy claiming Buddhism was the first religion. The other claims it was Islam. I think both of them are idiots, but I'll keep my opinions to myself...and the facts. What good would it do to argue with rocks?

I fight through the distractions and finish the book. It occurs to me that perhaps I am like Ender and this is all a test, one big game. Maybe the world is just screwing with me to get me pointed in the right direction. Or maybe people are just stupid...I go to the library.


Trying to find a good book amidst the dust-covered shelves is like an Easter egg hunt. One must keep his eyes open, look in the least likely places, and rely on a little luck. Sometimes you find what you are searching for with ease and sometimes it surprises you...Maybe you have even looked in that very spot several times and just overlooked the prize.

There are a lot of books in the library, but most are hack novels found on dime-store racks. There are popular authors, but rarely can you find all of an author's catalogue and "new-releases" are not shelved until years after their release. Many of the books are stolen or misplaced.

To make matters worse, the library is extremely disorganized. For some reason they split the books up into a number of sections and subsections. There are shelves for Westerns, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and General Fiction. These are further divided into three sections: Hardback, paperback, and trade paperbacks. What this means is that if you are searching for books by a particular author, they may be in any number of locations. Take Dean Koontz, for example, some of his books are in Horror, some in Fantasy, some in General Fiction. Some are hardback. Some paperback. Some Trade paperback. To find a book by Koontz, you may have to check six different shelves...If they were even shelved properly. Even books from the same series (i.e. Koontz's 'Odd Thomas' series)are split up and scattered about.

This is compounded by the fact that the inmate workers and the head librarian don't seem to care. They are extremely lazy and selfish. As long as their own "wish-lists" are fulfilled, to Hell with everyone else. The workers are so busy reading magazines and typing on their computers, that asking for help is treated as a burden to them.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal, as we are lucky to have a library at all, but here is my dilemma: I find it hard to get entertaining and intelligent novels. I enjoy all types of genres, as long as the material is enjoyable. When I read, I want to take something away from the book. Science Fiction and Fantasy are favorites of mine, but often those genres are filled with trilogies, epic series, and universal-scoped settings. What I find more often than not, is that there are books missing from the series, and usually it is the first or second book.

Returning Ender's Game, I am eagerly anticipating reading more of the series...Book 2, Speaker for The Dead, they have, but all the other books in the series are missing up to book 6. I'll get Speaker...but who knows when I'll get to read any further. This dampens the pleasure I'll take from reading Book 2.

I am only supposed to stay for 30 minutes, but they are not overly concerned with running us out on time, so I continue searching the shelves for "eggs". We can check out three at a time. I end up deciding on Albert Camus' The Rebel and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.

Across the hall from the main library is a small office with a wide selection of non-fiction. In addition to the three books I check out from the main library, I am permitted to check out one from this office. It is as disorganized as the main, if not more, so I can't walk around and search the shelves here. Instead, they have a catalogue on the desk. There is no logical order to this catalogue, and many books listed are missing. Also, there are many books on the shelves not listed. It takes another 15 minutes before I pick out a bit of political philosophy in the form of J.S. Mill's On Liberty. With that done, I leave.

To Be Continued...

1 comment:

  1. The Lovely Bones is a great book... if the movie is ever shown it is very dark. just as good as the book and that doesn't happen often.