Comfort Zones

Mystery Books at Upper Riccarton

No sooner have you carved out a comfort zone for yourself than you are urged to step outside of it.

The library itself is no haven from this trend. The Five Book Challenge is in full swing and I am starting to feel like a bad, bad person for failing to give it a bash. But last week, while on desk at Upper Riccarton, I looked up and felt the cogs of the Universe lock into place. In front of me was a table groaning under the weight of several beautifully packaged Mystery Book parcels and as luck would have it, there were five books per pack.

I took two packs: “Girls Night In” and “Take a Trip”. For starters “Girls Night In” was a complete disaster – I have to face the harsh reality that I am no longer “a girl”. The pack contained two Chick Lit novels, two style books and a book called Tea Time – 30 irresistible and delicious afternoon treats. I don’t know anyone who bakes biscuits on her girls night in. If you do, can I be your friend?

My “Take a Trip” pack was a better choice and I could probably read all of them. It contained:

I’ve seen Mystery Book parcels at several libraries round the network, Upper Riccarton, Shirley and Hornby to name a few. They have, without exception, been put together with a lot of love, care, time and effort. I wonder what customer feedback has been like.

In so far as my combined Five Book Mystery Parcel Challenge went, the “sunny side up” me had fun, but the “jam side down” Roberta just kept asking: “Why? Why? Why?”

12 thoughts on “Comfort Zones

  1. Veronica Brownlee 14 June 2010 / 2:41 pm

    We did a similar thing over the summer holidays for our young adult borrowers at Hornby
    They really enjoyed the concept and gave good feedback. Well worth the work involved

  2. robertafsmith 14 June 2010 / 4:36 pm

    That’s great to hear Veronica.Did you get the impression that this initiative helped introduce the borrowers to new reads that they might love – or do you think these “Mystery Book Parcels” just have novelty value?

  3. Sarah 15 June 2010 / 2:53 pm

    It was really popular at Shirley Library as well. We wrapped up individual books for Library Week last year and they disappeared very quickly! Don’t forget to write the barcode number on the back so you can issue it……

  4. clurbee 15 June 2010 / 3:50 pm

    Roberta, you can be my friend – my idea of a night in is definitley food orientated…

    • Roberta Smith 16 June 2010 / 9:55 am

      Thank you Claire – is this the start of Blogging with Benefits!

  5. Mark 15 June 2010 / 10:06 pm

    The mystery packs sound great in theory. The trouble is they’ll need to grab your attention straightaway to keep you reading especially when you recall that the library has so many thousands of books crying out for your love. As it is I often take several books out of my own choosing only to cast them aside after a few pages. Maybe I need to live somewhere really isolated where a visit to the library is a once in a month experience to make me persist with my selection. I used to think that if I was desperate I’d read anything out of my comfort zone, but that was before I tried Joanna Trollope.(shudder)

  6. Roberta Smith 16 June 2010 / 9:53 am

    I can’t even picture you trying a Joanna Trollope – please tell me this happened in Scotland! The whole Mystery Book/Comfort Zone thing just makes me realise how much I prefer to make my own mistakes – actually I have become quite good at it. Way outside my Comfort Zone would be Westerns and I just do not want to go there.

  7. mark 16 June 2010 / 10:14 pm

    The Trollope that I sampled was on holiday in Romania and a dreary little thing it was. I was captivated by a description of a fantasy novel but when i discovered that it was 600 pages long, I thought if I’m going to be bored i might as well read Dostoyevsky and maybe learn a few things in the process.
    There’s a lovely bit in one of Somerset maugham’s short stories where he’s trapped in some derelict town in Colombia and so desperate for something to read that he’s contemplating reading a trade goods catalogue. Wonder if he’d consider a Mills and Boon or a western?

  8. helen 19 June 2010 / 9:05 pm

    That sounds like fun, you never know what pops up in a package! I must keep a lookout for Mr Kim…

  9. Roberta Smith 21 June 2010 / 3:23 pm

    I have really enjoyed Meeting Mr Kim – I did not know much about South Korea at all even though I taught Korean students for years. I do love bibimbap and bulgogi though, so I was positively predisposed (for all the wrong reasons!) Think I will now read Margaret Drabble’s The Red Queen and Simon Winchester’s Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles, just for the sake of closure.

  10. Mette 7 September 2010 / 8:08 pm

    I’ll look out for Meeting Mr Kim for my next bookclub – especially interesting for Kristi, who taught there for 2 years.

    • robertafsmith 8 September 2010 / 1:04 pm

      Yes, I must say I thought of Kristi when I was reading it and would be very interested to know what she thinks of it.

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