One of my goals this year is to reform my ways when it comes to library books. My habit has always been to request books indiscriminately--whatever catches my eye ends up on my request list and then you know what happens. Murphy's Law--a stack of books shows up on the hold shelf--all at the same time. It was becoming so unwieldy--the constant to-ing and fro-ing back and forth with all those books. And then most of them would get returned unread and barely cracked open and looked at.
I don't know where I came across The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I think I must have saw some pre-pub notice and it caught my eye so I put in a request for it months ago. It sounded good, but that's all I knew about the book. Then somewhere along the way the novel began getting lots and lots of press so now it is one of the big 'hypes' of the new year. When I saw it come up for check out, I looked at the detailed record online and saw that not only was I one of the lucky first group to get a fresh, brand-spanking-new copy, but that the line behind me is nearly 300 people long. Yikes.
So, drum roll, please. I currently have two (a mere two) library books checked out and sitting on my bedside pile. One is from the library where I work. It's a biography with no one else waiting for it (so I'll get to keep it a little longer than a popular novel from the public library), so it is temporarily on hold but I hope to get to it soon. And today I picked up the Hawkins novel and right away began reading. It is a novel of suspense--a "Rear Window" sort of story but one that takes place from the vantage point of a moving train--and what one woman sees from that daily commute on the train. I already know she is not going to be a reliable narrator, though I am questioning some of the other characters as well. I love a good Hitchcockian sort of story.
"Turning slightly towards the window, my back to the rest of the carriage, I open one of the little bottles of Chenin Blanc I purchased from the Whistlestop at Euston. It's not cold, but it'll do. I pour some into a plastic cup, screw the top back on and slip the bottle into my handbag. It's less acceptable to drink on the train on a Monday, unless you're drinking with company, which I am not."
"There are familiar faces on these trains, people I see every week, going to and fro. I recognize them and they probably recognize me. I don't know whether they see me, though, for what I really am."
Now that sets the stage, doesn't it?!
Every year I keep an Excel spreadsheet with bits of information about each book I read. This year I have added a new tab, and plan on keeping track of every library book I borrow and whether I actually read the book or not. I'm trying to be more discriminating in my choices. I'm trying to reform my ways. I'm going to try and read all the books I borrow from the library this year. What a novel idea!