Let the books find you

Tired of searching for stuff to read? Fret not, for there is a whole new way: let the books find you.

It’s easy as – just take a deep breath, calm your racing heart and step into a library, secure in the belief that the right book will, if not exactly jump off the shelf at you, at least seep in your direction.

Cover: Knit Your Own ZombieHere’s three of the books that found their way to me this month:

First up was Knit your own Zombie by Fiona Goble. A lovely colleague pointed this book out to me when I confessed that I would soon be knitting for my first grandchild. He steered me firmly away from the cute little knitted bunnies that I’d been eyeing, to this book of  eight full zombie characters who come with escaping entrails and velcroed appendages.

Forget stress balls and meditation and discover the insane pleasure of tearing their 100 percent little wool heads off.

Completely unsuitable for bebe on so many levels, but you gotta love the new craft movements that take old skills and whack them, with attitude, into the twenty-first century!

Cover: How to Be GayThe next shelf-jumper was How to be Gay by David M. Halperin. This is the sort of book that you don’t especially want to be seen clutching at in public, irrespective of your sexual orientation. But it is a great (albeit quite academic) read. The author is the founder of the LGBTQ course at the University of Michigan. His main argument is that gayness (particularly male gayness) is much more than a sexual orientation and is, in fact, a learned cultural orientation:

Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn’t mean that you don’t have to learn how to become one.

Halperin’s studies have incensed conservatives, fundamentalists and many gays as well. If you thought you were going to get décor hints and help to become a more stylish dresser, or that this read would be a fun romp that would help you blend in at the next Gay Parade, then this is not the book for you.

Instead, you might prefer the quintessentially British Hedge Britannia by Hugh Barker. Sub-titled A curious history of a British Obsession, this book lured me in at Fendalton Library – Christchurch’s Hedge Cover: Hedge BritanniaHeartland. It is a delightful read in which I learned all sorts of useless facts: that hedgerows have been around since Neolithic times and that Rockingham Castle has a stunning, rolling elephant hedge.  Wars over hedges haven’t been fought… yet, but hedge rage runs rife, and peeing on certain hedges can kill them.

I’d never have searched out these books because I didn’t even know they existed. So, a big thanks to all the wonderful displays put up by library staff around Christchurch, you help the books find me.

How about you, read any good shelf-jumpers lately?  Share, please do!

8 thoughts on “Let the books find you

  1. Gallivanta 26 March 2013 / 6:24 pm

    I must try your book selection method or ‘how the book selects you’. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. robertafsmith 26 March 2013 / 10:21 pm

    There is something really playful about it that I like, So far it has worked best with non-fiction books that have been put on display.

  3. Allison Broster 26 March 2013 / 10:58 pm

    Let the books find you? And thanks to you, they now cross the ocean, too! And what a delightful collection you have put together for us, Roberta. So eclectic. That’s me reaching for my Amazon account: knitting your own zombie? Now that is irresistible. Time to put those knitting lessons (yes!) to good use. And, thinking of the second book, I’m reminded that LGBTQ issues were a serious matter when Emz was at the University of Michigan. There was even a protest demonstration at her graduation because the guest speaker had made inappropriate comments in his political past. Sounds like an interesting book. And hedge rage? Clippers at dawn, no doubt. Thanks for a blog that made my day!

    • robertafsmith 27 March 2013 / 8:31 am

      That is very interesting about the protest demonstration. In fact, on reading Halperin’s book, I can tell you that as a student, I would have thoroughly enjoyed his course. He uses literature as a vehicle to get his point across. He freely admits that straights often achieve better results than gay students in his courses, so the student composition is healthily varied, from the sound of it.

  4. purplerulz 27 March 2013 / 6:39 pm

    I have in fact knitted half a zombie, a zombie rock star no less, hopefully I’ll finish him!

    • robertafsmith 28 March 2013 / 8:31 am

      There is something deeply disturbing about a half a zombie. Get cracking with that knitting Jackie!

  5. le fake wine club 27 March 2013 / 9:16 pm

    Hello mum. It’s the perfect baby shower gift. 1) Simon LOVES zombies and 2) he actually knits very well.

    Disturbing, but perfect.

    • robertafsmith 28 March 2013 / 8:37 am

      Yet again, the library solves all my life problems!

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