The joys of borrowing and renting

Somewhere along the line after I became a Grown Up, I stopped going to the library and decided I had to buy books that I wanted to read. I’m not sure when this happened. I was always library-girl in grade school. My first part-time job was in the public library.

In fact, I decided that the public library had gone the way of the dinosaur, because it had in many towns I lived in as an adult. Or you couldn’t find anything there worth checking out. Or if you did, it sat on your desk until its due-date and you had to take it back unread.

Plus, I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of reading a book, I wanted to have it on my shelf like a trophy for All To See. “See, I read this.” Problem is, I got books on my shelf that I bought and then never read. Most of them are gone now, I sold them for a quarter of the price I bought them for when I realized I’d never read them.

So all this talk of Harry Potter and other book recommendations on the board and here in LJ land got me itching to read. That, and I have NOTHING on my shelves anymore that I haven’t read or actually really intend to read. It makes riding the bus abysmally dull. But I go to and hesitate to put anything into my shopping cart; after all, what if I buy this and don’t read it, too? Or what if I buy it and don’t like it?

Honestly, when did I cave in to the international capitalist conspiracy to make me part with my hard-earned money? Hey, you corporate suck-pigs, it’s mine and you can’t have it!!

So yesterday I snuck out of work early and went to get myself a library card. They do have functioning public libraries in San Francisco. Makes sense; this is the last bastion of liberalism-isn’t-a-dirty-word in the United States. Or perhaps the last bastion of home-grown socialism. Pass the bean sprouts while I tighten the straps on my faded Birkenstocks.

I didn’t actually find any books at the library yesterday. By the time I got my card, the library was closing. They can’t have decent hours anymore because everybody else in this country doesn’t want to give their money to the government. Well, maybe for bombs, but not for books.

Well, fuck ’em all, this is the age of the internet, and I just spend a glorious hour in the on-line catalog for the library seeing what they had in science fiction and fantasy and gay and lesbian fiction. Yee haw! Books, books, books. I’ve noticed, however, that everything that interests me is in the “Teen Center”. OK, so my idea of entertainment shows that I am permanently stuck in adolescence because I never really had one. I was a big fat no-life nerd in High School. OK, not fat. Why do you think “Buffy” interested me when it first came out?

So now I have my library card and a list of books to locate before I go on vacation. Is it horribly risky to take library books with you on a plane to another state? ‘Cause I’m thinking of hauling my netflix DVDs there, too.

This netflix thing is also big fun. I do feel guilty about not patronizing my corner Mom-and-Pop video store. But for $3.80 for every rental, it was bleeding me dry! I figure with netflix, I have to rent 5 movies a month to make it as expensive as the corner store, but through the magic of DVD, I am discovering TV shows I’m too cheap, er, I mean frugal to spring for digital cable to see: Queer as Folk, Six Feet Under, Oz. I’m catching up on shows I don’t get around to watching on cable because they come on every friggin’ day and they never are at episode 1 season 1 when you need them to be: Dark Shadows, Babylon 5. Ooh, and reliving Space: 1999!

So this is fun. And when I get a life in the Real World, I’ll be sure to let you know.

7 thoughts on “The joys of borrowing and renting

  1. Pah, who needs a life? I want books! And videos and DVDs. I need to get to the library soon before they declare my card void for being inactive for over a year. And I totally know what you mean about teen novels. Maybe it’s that idea of being oppressed by the establishment, angsty and alone, and misunderstood by your family and by society at large, that appeals to you?
    Hope you have fun on your trip! Um, where are you going for vacation, if you don’t mind me asking? And I’ve taken library books to different cities before, but not out of province. Just as long as you don’t lose them and are willing to pay the fine if you do!
    Ugh, and LJ is being a Devon! This is like the 8th time I tried posting this thing! Grr. Argh.
    ~ Scroll 🙂

  2. Of course…
    I will stay pay money for the books and DVDs I actually want to own. But I want to KNOW I want to own them before I do. I’m still having that “I’m too poor to own any TV DVDs” thing. Then I look at my checkbook and see how much money I spend every month withdrawing cash from the ATM to go God knows where and on pointless junk and I’m thinking, “I should just buy that Highlander Season 1 DVD set and say fuck it!” Then it’s onto DSN, TNG, X-Files, etc.
    Pooey on it.
    As far as teen stuff, I’m not sure what the appeal is. Partly, it’s that discovering-and-doing things for the first time thing angle. It’s nice to see the world through that fresh, excited angle. Part of it is that adult characters always have too much baggage weighing them down. Adult books and movies always have to have a sub-plot (or three) just devoted to their past traumas. I have enough of that in real life.
    The funny thing is, that’s not necessarily true, either. I enjoy teen-aged characters with lots of baggage as well–the Connors and Faiths of the world fascinate me. I think the fact that Harry Potter is going through an angsty dark phase is COOL. So WHO KNOWS what it is?
    I’m just going to see the Parents in Arizona for week. So I don’t plan on doing much of anything, except lying around reading, watching TV, sleeping. That’s what you do at the Parents. Plus, it’s too hot to do anything else, and that’s a good enough excuse for me!

  3. Libraries! My favorite! When I was a kid, my dream vacation was to camp out in the Library of Congress, where I had heard they had every single book ever published. I found out later that the Library of Congress wasn’t so much a giant public library as a museum-type thing, and was sorely disappointed.
    Anyway, I love libraries precisely because of the money thing. And, like you said, I like knowing I will like the books before I buy them. Most of my amazon purchases are of books I’ve read a lot and never gotten. Or of authors/series I’ve read a bit of. I am less conservative in a library because I can check out tons and tons of books and not pay a cent! And they’ve got out of print books I can’t get my hands on!
    And yay to YA/teen books! I kind of am on a YA reading spree right now.. I don’t know why. I think sometimes the “adult” fantasy feels waay to burdened, like the authors feel like they have to do the whole world building thing, do politics, sketch out everything in a grand Tokienesque fashion, when really, I want character and fun settings and a certain … I dunno, lightness of spirit? I get kind of sick of all the big fantasy things taking themselves so seriously.

  4. Teen vs. Adult
    I think sometimes the “adult” fantasy feels waay to burdened, like the authors feel like they have to do the whole world building thing, do politics, sketch out everything in a grand Tokienesque fashion…
    Maybe that’s what it is. Adult books are full of the “big things” of the world like politics and economics and social issues and all that grand scope, and what I really want is something more personal and dare I say, a bit self-absorbed, or a bit absorbed in its own immediate world. Teen books are more like that. I don’t always need the “lightness of spirit”, but I do need to get away from the World for a while.
    So I got me a bunch of teen books for my trip!

  5. Re: Of course…
    Ooh, Highlander DVDs… You’re tempting me just by mentioning such treasures, Masq! But I must resist! I mean, I could just tape them off TV since reruns are on all the time.
    Have fun in Arizona! I’m looking it up on my atlas right now and noticing how much further south than San Francisco it is. Hope your parents have air conditioning!

  6. All this stuff I want on DVD…
    I already have on tape. I have Buffy and Angel and Highlander and X-FIles on tape. I have DSN and Original Series and TNG and Voyager and Enterprise on tape. I have Lois and Clark and Forever Knight and Highlander: the Raven on tape. I’m having Rob send me “Six Feet Under” on tape and DeadSoul send me “Queer as Folk” on tape. Hell, I even have that ’70’s sit-com “Soap” on tape.
    Most of which I made off the television myself at some point. I have so many friggin’ tapes the big ol’ cabinet I bought to house them is overflowing onto my book shelves. Half the boxes I haul from place to place when I move are books and video tapes.
    I would like to pare down this excess of bulky video tapes and get the high-quality viewing experience of DVD (not to mention commentaries and the ability to jump to my favorite moments in seconds!). It’s just hard to justify spending the money while I have the actual TV shows at my fingertips already.
    Maybe if I get a raise at work…

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