Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BOOKreMARKS: My Pseudoselection Process

My recent trip to the library added an abundance of animal books—some that you may question—to my Current Reading Lineup list. Allow me to explain.

I’ve acquired a weird sense of urgency about borrowing books. Once inside the library, I beeline to the animals and new-arrivals sections. As I scan the spines, an afflicted part of my brain says, “Take it now. You may never see it at this location again.”

This is true. Books are constantly shuffled between the Central Library and its five or six branches. But then my rational brain steps in to advise: “You could always plan ahead and request that a particular title be held for you at the branch of your choosing.”

This is also true, yet tricky. Lots of variables play into the timing: when (and if) the last borrower actually returns the book, whether the book’s condition is deemed acceptable for continued borrowing, how long the book is in transit from one library to another. And if I request more than one book, how many trips to the library must I make to retrieve them all? In the end, I panic and defer to my affliction. If I see something that interests me, I take it.

A few of my selections this month could have been more informed. For instance, I had The Puppy Diaries confused with a different book about raising a guide-dog pooch. The Bill Henderson (founder of Pushcart Press/Prize) memoir contains a struggle with religion, a topic I’m not interested in right now. And then, of course, it apparently slipped my mind when I grabbed the horse book how prominently religion figures into the Chicken Soup series.

But I’m reading all the books anyway and, so far, no regrets. Henderson has helped me solidify my philosophy about dog companionship; Abramson has driven home the notion that a high IQ, successful career, and A-list friends aren’t enough to make someone a great pet guardian; and the Chicken Soup collection reminds me of how many untold tales are out there awaiting their debut in print.

My pseudoselection process may not have presented me with the books I expected, but I’ll be richer for having read them.

[Art by Van Gogh.]

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