Today, I had the occasion to go to the Central Library. Its website boasts that it was voted "Best Library Branch in the Region", which I think is a little unfair. It's like Beyonce entering a high school talent show, for crying out loud. Central has about as much floor space as an average Target, and features exhibits of Mark Twain's original manuscripts, rare book exhibits, a massive local history room, a cafe, a used bookstore, a huge number of DVDs and CDs and more computer terminals than you can shake a stick at. They have self-checkout, and when you use it, you get a Wendy's coupon. They have a security guard at the door. There are three levels in there, and two entrances. It's the home of all the bookmobiles in the county. They get all the new books first and have such a large collection that most of it isn't even out: you have to make a special request.
Naturally, I tend to go a little nuts in a place like that. Not just because a little part of me worries that one day they'll realize what an incredible luxury libraries are -- and all for free -- and start charging huge amounts (beyond my late fines) until only the rich can go there. Despite this being the region in which I grew up, today's trip was probably only my fifth or sixth to Central. Even though I'm a ten-minute drive away from it now, a trip to Central still seems like a special occasion. There's the Organizing of the Quarters (needed for parking; there's nowhere to park down there). It's right in the heart of downtown, so you have to fight a lot of traffic to get there and find a spot. And there's just SO. MANY. BOOKS.
One day, I'm going to go down there with $10 worth of quarters, stay all day and really take my time. Today, I only had an hour, so I had to budget my time. The purpose of my trip was Thanksgiving children's books, for work, so I took care of that first. After that, I was free to have a little fun. Here's a list of what I picked up for myself:
The Modern Ark, Vicki Constance Croke
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, a film biography (hope it's not boring)
Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur's Chronicler, Christina Hardyment (ditto that one)
The Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood, Julie Salamon
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, Jasper Fforde
The Horror in the Museum, H.P. Lovecraft
Not bad, eh? They had to send down to closed stacks for The Modern Ark, so I cooled my heels with the Thursday Next book, and honestly, I can already see myself abandoning my Nazi book for it. Not that the Nazi book isn't interesting, but how can it compete with a stupidity surplus? (Don't ask.) Anyway, it's a 7-day book, so I'll have to get it done. Awwwwwww, too bad!