Tuesday, February 3, 2009

East Of Yesterday And West Of Tomorrow


I love my local library.

Whenever I get stressed out, or when I need to take a break from my computer, or even when I just need to unwind for a few, I go to my local library.

I have been doing this ever since I was about ten or eleven, when I really began to enjoy reading. I had no real friends to speak of while growing up, so the library became the next best thing to being my friend.

I would go there and peruse the aisles of books, looking for something that peaked my curiosity. Even at that young age, the genres I would read were clearly defined and for the most part, have stayed that way thirty-five years later.

My favorite genres then were non-fiction and true crime. Still are to this day, although most of the true crime stuff that has been published for the past fifteen years has been more pop-culture oriented than anything else, therefore in my opinion, suck. Because of this, I have branched out into sub-genres of true crime that are really more suited for the college classroom than for regular consumption. As for non-fiction, I was more into historical non-fiction while growing up, but quickly branched out into other types.

Of all the non-fiction I've read (even today), there are two from the 80's that still stand out that I would highly recommend for reading today. One deals with Hollywood (no, not Ken Archer), specifically child actors. Richard Moore was a child actor in the late 30's/early 40's, who appeared in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedy shorts. He went by the stage name of Dickie Moore, and usually played a clean cut rich kid. Anyways, his autobiography (which I thought was pretty good) was called "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, But Don't Have Sex or Take The Car". The title alone is what grabbed me to begin with.

The other one was autobiographical in nature as well. If you remember when Judge Judy first came on the scene, she had written a book I think shortly after her t.v. career took off. In it, she chronicled her days as a Family Court judge in New York. Again, I thought it was a good book and again, the title was what grabbed me to begin with. It was called, "Don't Pee On My Leg And Tell Me It's Raining."

The other genres I got into as I got older: westerns, fantasy, historical fiction, regular fiction and mystery, were ones that I explored in more detail in the following years, once those two initial genres started to wear out their welcome.

Nowadays, the first thing I do when I enter the library is make a beeline to the new title section. There I find most of the above mentioned genres that I frequently like to read. After checking out the new titles, the next thing I like to do is wander the aisles to see what I can find that interests me, which of late is becoming harder and harder to do.

After doing that for anywhere from ten minutes to a half hour (great way to lose yourself), I wind up calling it day, because as stated in the previous paragraph, trying to find something that interests me is becoming harder to do.

Most of the time lately, I leave with nothing to show for my efforts beyond having clean slate to start with again. I'm usually able to purge out whatever stress is bothering me, and I leave the library refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.

So a question for everyone here is: What is your favorite thing to do at the library and does it help you to relax?


  1. I use the Hold system frequently, reserving books I've seen reviewed or advertised. But I stop in at the New Fiction, checking out anything I might have recently missed. The past couple of years I've been drawn to memoir too, discovering a few amazing journeys put to the page.

  2. I LOVE libraries. Spent a lot of time there as a child and discovered different worlds. I love going over to the young adult section, there are usually gems there. Also romantic suspense, history and biographies.

  3. Hey George! Hi, how are you? Wow! So you have a blog and you published your book. Pretty good!

    I was surfing around Topix and I saw your new profile. I didn't really see any other familiar people except middletown joe. Is Barbara still around?

    I left a few comments over the summer but I didn't really stay around.

    Unfortunatly my mom passed away in November.

    Really nice blog! Looks like you've been busy.

    Eddie M.

  4. i used to go to the library a lot. but less now. i think it was more of a procrastination for me since it's possible to spend hours in there without noticing.

    the internet takes care of that for me now.

  5. Joanne:

    Memoirs? Sounds interesting. I've occasionally tripped the light fantastic with memoirs (or 'autobiographies' in my younger days).

    Pink: I usually stay far away from Young Adult, since what I used to see while growing up (at least to me) wasn't very good. But since I've been blogging, and with the attraction of me to blogs like yours, it seems like a safe bet that I should start taking another look at the YA genre.


    Dude, long time no see!! You are one of the good guys from the chat rooms that I really enjoy talking to. I am truly sorry to hear that mother passed away this past November.

    To answer your question, I haven't seen Barbara since those early days in '07. She could still be around, I don't know.

    Middletown Joe is still plugging away yes, but as for other familiar ones, the only one I can think of from that time frame would be a poster called "TRUTH", who comments here every once in a while.

    Thank you for the compliment, please, stop by again whenever you get a free moment.

    Kyle: I completely sympathize about spending hours without truly realizing it.

    Still, for time wasting fun, nothing beats going to a library.

    Best free fun that money can buy.

  6. You and I are simpatico my friend. I hope I never see the day I can't find a library or secondhand bookstore in my town. Good post.

  7. Thanks.

    It's funny, but even though I used to deal with libraries and historical societies early on in my govt career, I've only spent quality time in two libraries (not counting the one I worked in).

    The first one is my hometown one. It's a nice, cutting edge type of library with a gentle nod to its roots. The kind of library where you don't mind leaving your kid in the children's section while you go off wandering around.

    The second was where I lived for most of the 90's and the early part of this decade. It is old, not very cutting edge and definitely a place where you have to keep an eye on things.

    But, the only thing that they had in common was their charm. I did enjoy losing all sense of time in that second library as well as the first one, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  8. Libraries always used to terrify me as a child and I am still uncomfortable in them as an adult.

    The school I went to as a child was trying to get a grant to buy more books and made it a rule that all students had to take out two books a week, whether we read them or not. I didn't do it cause I couldn't make myself go into the library (which was probably full of all the kids that teased me) and was called up and roused on by the teacher in front of the class and ordered to write out pages of the dictionary in punishment.

    I am surprised I read at all - lol - but our family has always read books. Couldn't even see the walls in my Uncles house for the books piled up in towers on top of the bookcases that couldn't fit them all.

  9. I have to say that I actually pretty much despise Judge Judy. I think she needs a good spanking and I literally cannot stay in the room when she's on TV. This is occassionally a problem because my otherwise discerning wife likes to watch her.

  10. M.C. Lady: Hmmm....to punish you for not taking books out of a library is pretty pathetic. I'm sorry to hear that you had such bad experiences at the library.

    My family wasn't what you call 'heavy readers'. My dad mostly read the newspaper and Sports Illustrated during his down time. My mother didn't read at all beyond the tabloids (Star, National Enquirer, etc.), and my brother had major problems with reading while growing up.

    Charles: That's too funny. Seriously, due to my work schedule, I haven't watched daytime t.v. for most of this decade. And on the rare occasions that I due, I find it to be a vast wasteland.

    BTW: I had much the same problem with my wife, in that she simply adores David Hasselhoff. Thus I got tortured with all of his shows.

  11. I just LOVE hanging out at our library!! I always go there when I need to unwind and just roam the aisles.....

  12. Hi VM!

    Welcome back to the land of the living. Sounds like things went very well for you in New York.

    Roaming the library is the ultimate way of relaxing and people watching.

  13. Hi Again George!

    I remember M Joe and Truth too! I was sad to see no familiar people. I'll probably look around for a good scrap and maybe meet some new people. I'm rusty though!

    Eddie M

  14. Yeah, there has been a total change over from the last time you were on.

    There still are some good people in the local forum.


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