Sunday, January 15, 2012


I recently moved to a new town and was elated to discover a library in walking distance of my apartment, ever available as a peaceful work space and an outlet for idle book browsing. One day I decided to abandon my work and check out the library. My apartment is in a primarily Spanish-speaking area, so I quickly realized that half of the fiction section was in Spanish. (I now regret dropping the ball with the Spanish language Rosetta Stone I started in the fall.)

I looked for authors that I know and enjoy to gauge the inventory of the fiction section. For every author I searched for, I found one with a similar name who wrote a book about moms. For instance, where I hoped to find Virginia Woolf, I found Virginia Walf, author of Mom’s Day Out or Mom’s the Word. I quickly determined that I would have to use interlibrary loan to find books that are not specifically for and about moms. Or in Spanish.

Then, to my dismay, the library closed for construction, leaving me with only the enormous bookcase in my own apartment. After a month of patiently writing in the crowded Starbucks, the library has finally reopened. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll test out the renovated premises and search for some of the books I’d like to read this year.

Do you have an enormous bookcase might as well be its own library? Do you pass so many good reads onto enthusiastic friends that you forgot what was on the shelves in the first place? Maybe it’s time you invested in a personal library kit. The need to put little cards in the back of your own books must have occurred to you at one time or another, as you wondered whether your copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fell behind your desk or remains forgotten under a pile of sneakers in your brother’s closet? Perhaps it’s time to subject friends and family to library bureaucracy in your own home, complete with fines and a Dewey Decimal System.

Another idea for an enormous bookcase: Hide your heirloom treasures and embarrassing secrets in a hollowed-out book. This post from the blog Build Castles in Air will tell you exactly how to do it. Buried in between dozens of other books, no one will ever guess that your copy of Square Foot Gardening actually contains evidence of your latest crime spree.

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