It’s like this Erasmus guy knows me. My Amazon wishlist is larger than my book-buying budget, but thanks to the Library I can make better decisions about which books I want to own by checking them out first. Here are just a few of the many titles I’ve purchased after the “try before you buy” period.
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh. Why would you buy a book when you can read the blog posts for free on the internet? Because some people are just so darned funny that you want to support their livelihood. Brosh’s blunt descriptions of her weird childhood, adult struggles with depression and the oddball dogs with whom she has shared her life, are required reading for anybody with a dark sense of humor and an affinity for awkward people (or a similar awkward past). Illustrated with colorful vignettes just a few steps up from stick figure art (that’s not a complaint), Brosh’s collection is the perfect addition to my home library, so that I can go back to its absurdity and humor whenever I like, and not just when I’m near a screen or a device. Maybe if I’m really lucky, she’ll publish another book…
The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health, Linda Sparrowe. When I decided to try yoga, I was too embarrassed to actually go to a class and interact with other human beings. I had the mistaken notion that all yoginis were a size two and incredibly spiritually advanced, and since I was neither, I should probably practice at home until I was a lean, laid-back adept (or could fake it reasonably well). Of the flurry of library books I tried, Sparrowe’s was the first one I bought: its clear illustrations/instructions, use of modifications and otherwise sensible advice about both the physical and spiritual practice of yoga helped me calm down a little and focus on the learning process instead of the person next to me at the studio I eventually started attending. Thanks for helping me get over myself, Linda Sparrowe!
Happy Herbivore Abroad, Lindsay S. Nixon. It’s really important to take cookbooks for a test drive before you buy them. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a shelf full of books you’ll never use, which is neither cost-effective nor tasty. Nixon’s collection of plant-based recipes made the cut because it presents a global sampler of delicious meals that will suit adventurous palates, but not send you all over town hunting for expensive, exotic ingredients. Nixon also tells interesting stories about the places she’s visited, which makes this a fun book to sit down and read at length. This cookbook paid for itself when I shared the recipe for German lentil stew with my parents, who enjoyed it so much that they made it again when I came to visit, then sent me home with a huge container of it as a thank-you. Now, that’s what I call the circle of life.
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green. I know, I know. Truth be told, I actually resisted this book for quite some time, despite hearing great things about it in the media and from other readers, because I’m always a little leery of the book “everybody” is reading. As it turns out, “everybody” is reading the book for very good reasons, some of which include Swedish hip-hop, a rant about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the inescapable truth that the world is, indeed, not a wish-granting factory. You don’t get to choose whether or not you get your heart broken in this world, but you do get to choose the books that break your heart…and I choose this one, because I know that if it ever stops breaking my heart, I’ve probably lost some essential human quality that makes both love and empathy possible.
Your turn: do you use the Library to pre-shop for your permanent bookshelf? What titles have you checked out that made you say…
supporting the literary economy, one enjoyable read at a time