A couple of Saturday ago, I poddled into the local library or ‘visual entertainments centre’ as they are most likely called these days. it’s a rare thing for me to go into a library, what with my own personal one waiting for me at home but the local bookshop which usually serves as my preferred meeting place has squeezed out the good books again and decided to give even more coverage to bestsellers and the Kobo e-reader.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, a library, let us say your local one, gets a £5 million pound revamp, which includes unnecessarily oversized tables, lots of computers and of course, the inevitable and not to mention huge loss of books. This is happening up and down the UK and I suspect everywhere else globally. As well as being a place to read and learn, now libraries are places where the homeless stay warm, everyone is loud and if you would like a book from a series, the first is never ever available but books 3,4 and 6 are never taken out it seems.
I did find some great authors though, in my browsing of the fiction section, Camus, Balzac, Verne and Zola to be utterly precise and as luck would have it, whilst perusing these literary giants, I received a text saying that due to missed buses I will have to wait an extra hour for my proposed meeet. Which is never a problem for me in a library, so I picked up Zola’s Germinal as my reading habits this year have been less than stellar so far and redressing the balance is always preferable to…um, undressing.
I found that this simple act of reading whilst ignoring everything going on around me was extremely therapeutic and something that I hadn’t realised I missed so much. Call me a traditionalist but back in the day libraries were a place to be quiet, there wasn’t much noise because people liked to concentrate, everyone talked in whispers and there were no distractions…maybe I am just old before my time but I find it easier to read down the pub these days.
Anyway peace in my head was restored and Zola is, for the record a cracking writer, although I only read through the first 30 or so pages of Germinal, I was immediately drawn in by the brutally honest portrayal of life for the French working classes in the 1800’s, his social awareness and powerful literary skill are up there with Dickens.
Anyway Chris was met, coffee was drunk, subjects discussed and in a wonderful finale to my day, it turns out that Germinal is on one of my bookcases so a good day all round and here’s to a few more of those.