The other day I was lying around at home reading a book. About page 73, I discovered a single grain of uncooked rice wedged in between the pages. On further inspection the grain turned out to be arborio rice. This sent my mind off on a bit of a wander/wonder (it wasn’t a particularly gripping book).
How did the rice get there? Was there risotto for tea? Had the cook thrown the rice wildly around the kitchen while reading the book? (It wasn’t even a cookbook). Or perhaps the rice was destined for something other than dinner? Beanie baby stuffing? Pasta collage? Suburban genetically-engineered paddy-field development?
And then, quite serendipitously for my musings, my son arrived waving a couple of plane tickets he’d found tucked into his library book. Someone, apparently, had taken one of our books on a holiday to Rarotonga.
So many times I’ve found things tucked away between the pages – mostly the surprises are pleasant, or at least not unpleasant: pretty bookmarks, cards saying, “I louve yeou Mumm” in purple crayon, exotic travel documents, even interesting shopping lists. It really adds a whole other dimension to whatever book it is, illustrating just how varied and diverse our readers are, as well as what an exciting life the books themselves lead (I once had to deal with a customer who’d dropped his novel off the side of a boat while swimming with sharks in Fiji).
Of course, balancing these happy finds is the odd discovery I’d have preferred NOT to make (close your eyes now if you’re squeamish): the completely squashed flat dead bird in a magazine, for example, and other less-than-seemly finds.
Anyone out there top my stories? What’s the best/worst/most valuable/ oddest thing YOU have ever discovered?
Is there anyone out there who still thinks the library is a quiet place? It certainly wasn’t at Shirley Library this morning. After an admittedly slow start to the day we had a rather raucous storytime attended by a local kindy (that always boosts the volume) followed immediately by our first Music Month performance from pianist Laurie Searle.
Laurie spent an hour playing hits from shows, popular classics, a few jazz standards and other easy listening tunes. He even brought his own fan club – a couple of older ladies who obviously knew him well. Practically all the customers I served in that time said what a pleasure it was to have live music – one lady even said it made her want to dance.
I would love to be that musical… to just be able to sit there and play so many tunes from memory… of course I’d actually have to learn to play the piano first, then spend years practising, eventually giving up the day job as a librarian and spending all my evenings in nightclubs and restaurants playing to the punters. I think I might have left it too late though – Laurie started playing when he was 9, was broadcasting on the radio by the time he was 15 and has already had success as a trio before striking out on his own.
Sport? Never interested. Shakespeare? Sometimes interested. Celebrities? Always interested. So a book about sport, with a plot based on a Shakespeare play and featuring a couple very similar to David and Victoria Beckham put me in something of a quandary.
On the one hand books about sport make me feel faint with boredom. On the other hand a book where Posh and Becks-like characters fall victim to several of the deadly sins has got to have something going for it.
And so it proved with Exposure, a Young Adult book with something for everyone. Mal Peet writes about soccer well enough to make it exciting to someone who regards not following sport as something of a badge of honour and he’s no slouch at building suspense in a part of the story that’s concerned with political corruption and homeless children. He can even handle romance – the doomed love story of Otello and Desmeralda is believable, romantic and sad without being soppy.
I’m so impressed I’m going to check out his other books – this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Peet’s a definite must see at this month’s <a title="Mal Peet, appearing at this year's Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.
The first New Zealand Music Month performance at Central Library went down a treat. The tuneful accoustic set played by Fire Thief had the crowd grooving gently to start with but then warming up enough to call for something a bit louder. Despite disbelief that a library audience would want more volume the band was happy to oblige and yes they will have a CD out later in the year.