My Recent Bookish Quandaries

28 Mar

As the life of a bibliophile progresses, there’s bound to be a few stumbling blocks. I’ve had two recently that I’ll share with you, Reader. Maybe you can sympathize. Or maybe you’ll laugh at me. Either way, you can leave a comment (hint).

My first one was trying to find a gift for my father-in-law. My husband’s family are faint decedents of John Brown, an American abolitionist. When I heard that the winner of the National Book Award was about a young slave boy traveling around with Brown, I knew I wanted to get it for my father-in-law’s birthday. My problem is that I couldn’t remember the title… or the author.

I was that person that ever Barnes & Noble employee hates. I walked up to the customer service desk and said what I’m sure their least favorite words are: “I don’t remember the title but…”

Lucky for him, my ‘but’ wasn’t the color of the cover or what happened in it. I said, “…but it won the National Book Award and has the word ‘bird’ in the title.” <Insert funny look from employee here.> His internal groan became a shrug and he asked me if it was Alice Munro. “No,” I said. “She won the Nobel Prize for literature.” I like to think I re-gained his respect here. He was able to Google the 2013 National Book Award and found James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird on the Award Winner’s shelf. (If this just had a bigger sign, we wouldn’t have had this problem in the first place.) Quandary #1 solved.

My second quandary is something I discovered on Wednesday and I know many of my other bibliophiles have this same issue. Library holds ALWAYS come in all at once!



Here’s my hold list. I checked out Cabin Pressure because I saw that The Cuckoo’s Calling by ‘Robert Galbraith’ wasn’t due until 5-April. I needed an audiobook in the meantime. I’ve been waiting for this one since October so you could say I’m a little excited to get it. BUT THEN the library noticed how long the hold list is for And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and finally ordered a second copy of it, moving me very quickly from third to first on the hold list. This was quite unanticipated. I’ll get the copy as soon as it’s ordered, which could be any day now.

So I’m in the early middle of Cabin Pressure and I’m feeling some library pressure to put it aside for these holds because of the waiting lists. I know this isn’t a real problem, like hunger and oppression are real problems, but my OCD bookish side is freaking out.

Reader, have you ever had this problem? Or have you ever been on either end of the “I don’t remember the title but…” question? Leave me a comment and let me know! I can’t be alone in this world!

Until next time, write on!


4 Responses to “My Recent Bookish Quandaries”

  1. readingcook March 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM #

    What a great gift idea for your father-in-law! For the record, you had enough pertinent information for the B&N person to work with. I have gone in with less and they still manage to pull out the what I was looking for, bless their hearts! Just remember that it is people like you who keep people like that employed. Win-win! As for all those books on hold, your cup runneth over! It would be great if the library could just drop you down a notch or two for the “And the Mountains Echoed”. That way you could comfortably finish your current book as well as “The Cuckoo is Calling”. I found that to be a quick and engaging read. Hopefully, the librarian can accommodate a request for a slight adjustment for the one book without moving you to the bottom of a very long list. Good luck!


    • Sam March 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM #

      The other option I’ve considered is to take myself off the list for ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ and I’d end up 2 of 2, which isn’t that far back. I think I’m going to try going crazy and taking out both of them and overusing the ‘renew’ system for ‘Cabin Pressure.’ I have over a hour in the car every day to listen plus any extra driving I might do. I’m so determined!


  2. Barb Stevens March 28, 2014 at 10:22 PM #

    When I was in high school (1977) our summer reading list included a book with a very specific edition which it turns out did not exist. The teacher had made an error typing up the list. Since there was no email or BlackBoard to post a correction, she just let us figure it out as best we could. I improvised with an alternate edition but one very OCD boy in our class had his father consult with the NYC Public Library during a business trip. On the first day back at school in September he berated the teacher for leading him on a wild goose chase. We definitely had different ideas of how to be cool back then. Thanks for the story Jack!


    • Sam March 29, 2014 at 9:02 AM #

      Haha your poor teacher!! Thanks for sharing.


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