Thoughts from the library

I’m sitting in the local branch of our library system while two of the kids go off to look at books and learn new things. If today goes well, I’d like this to be something we do more often. Growing up, the library was one of those “refuges” from the real world that I recall going too often. Not that the real world was hard for me – I had a good life, happy home, never truly wanting (“comfortable middle class” is probably an apt description). But it was in the stacks of the library, whether in the heat of the summer or the chills of winter, that I would lose myself. There was just so much potential knowledge here, so much I could learn and ingest if I just reached out and looked.

I don’t want to force this on the kids, but I would like them to have the opportunity to experience it. Maybe they won’t embrace it; maybe they will. Right now Youngest Daughter, having found the books she wants to read, is off with her marge notebook writing. Oldest daughter is browsing the teen section, having finally reached that age where the Juvenile books aren’t up to muster.

Isaac Asimov
Cover of Isaac Asimov

And then there’s me, laptop and notepad, sitting at a study carrel, trying to hammer out a few words n the novel. OK, I’ve actually spent my time researching whether Isaac Asimov ever put together a reading list (a recent interest of mine). Thanks to some help from Jamie Rubin, a sort of Asimov Expert in Residence, I’ve managed to track down a short list of books that Asimov mentions as being influential, and we can deduce from his own published books what some of his other interests were. After all, if you publish a definitive guide to Shakespeare, chances are the old Bard is probably on your list somewhere (it is). As an odd junction between Asimov and libraries (he was a huge fan), I leave you with this quote from I, Asimov: A Memoir, chapter 8, page 29 in the Kindle edition:

Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.

OK, back to hacking out some words for me. Which in a sense is really an act of channelling Ray Bradbury, not Asimov, come to think of it. After all, it was in a library that Fahrenheit 451 was written 🙂