Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It makes me insanely happy to be surrounded by library books. I love libraries; I have since I was a kid and I used to go to the Silas Bronson Library in downtown Waterbury with my dad on Saturdays. I seem to remember going to the dentist a lot as a child, but that my dad always took me to the library afterwards. In these hazy memories, it's always raining for some reason. It couldn't have always been raining, and I couldn't have been at the dentist every Saturday, but there you are.

Anyway, my co-op job when I was at Northeastern was at the Boston Athenaeum, which is the oldest library in the country, even older than the Boston Public Library (reason being due to its absorption of the Boston Library Society, which was the original "subscription" library). Back in the early 18th century, libraries were really the domain of the priveleged (read: wealthy white males). The idea of a free source for books and other media, available to anyone, is a relatively new thing here in the US. But that wasn't my point.

The co-op job was not super busy. I was working for the archivist in my first go-round, and they had given me some records to process. I apparently was more efficient than they planned, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I used that time to wander the building- crawling the catwalks that hovered over the 3rd through 5th floors, soaking in the artwork scattered over the 2nd floor, prowling through the Rare Book room on occasion, visiting with the conservationists in the depths of the building. I even became a regular at Wednesday afternoon teas each week.

Although I was really self-conscious and nervous being the only intern there for quite a while (and therefore the youngest and least experienced person there), the fact that I was surrounded by books made it somehow easier to get acclimated. I could spend hours in a library, and probably have....the SBL at home, the Snell Library at Northeastern, the BPL, the libraries at UMaryland (they had a phenomenal graduate library), the Library of Congress, the Exeter Public Library....and the Dover Public Library. I am encouraged by the fact that Charlotte loves a trip to the library more than just about anything.

So the reading. I am almost through with Anthony Bourdain's collection of travel/food essays, The Nasty Bits. He's crass, uses foul language, and tells about things you probably could have lived without hearing, but I love this as much as I have loved his other nonfiction. This is partly because he's abrasive, which amuses me. But the larger reason is that his descriptions are just so vivid. You can almost see what he sees. I also truly appreciate the reverence he has for other cuisines, other cultures.....more places I need to visit now. Vietnam!

My eyes tend to be bigger than the time I have available to read, so I have been trying not to overdo the number of books I bring home at one time. Of course, I'm also reading another food-related book, and have two other books on deck, as well as 6 knitting books (I'm researching for my next project). And I got notices in my email that I have two more books to pick up today! I love being able to request stuff online.

And Charlotte has probably 10 books out too. Yay! She's learning her alphabet, steadily. I am just amazed....someday she'll be reading on her own. I hope she'll still climb up on the couch next to me and say, "You read this to me Mama?" Or something like it.

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