The Library In My Bag

The Library In My Bag

Every Friday, or whenever I remember to, I go to the library. Well, it’s more a case of whenever I have time, because it’s pretty hard to forget to go to the library. (Mind you, the amount of things I’ve failed to do this week would cast strong doubts on the truthfulness of that statement.)

Today, I went to the library with my friend Andy, because he says he finds it difficult to spend more than five minutes in a library.

How? How is that even possible? I just don’t understand people who can walk into a building full of books and then walk out again without getting a stack of books ten or so high. It doesn’t make any sense. And to walk into a building full of books with your book nerd friend who’s totally researching a novel right now (honest) … it’s just impossible. Seriously.

So I taught him to get distracted in libraries.

Here’s my method.

First of all, walk into the library with your bag full of last week’s books. If your libraries are anything like ours, they’ll be trying to cut costs and staff, so you’ll find yourself in front of a self service machine. Return your books. The top two on the piles won’t register, so wiggle them until they do. For some reason, the machine can only cope with stacks three or four high.

Express surprise that you had twelve books on loan. You thought it was only eleven.

Next, head over to the Teen section. This applies no matter how old you are, because there’s something just incredibly interesting about Teen books. I don’t know why, but once you get past the vampire books that appeared in the wake of Twilight, you’ll find all sorts of things. Some of them you’ll be thrilled to show the world. Others are your guilty little secret, but don’t worry. I’m pleased that you’re reading rather than watching TV and don’t even mind if it’s a hundred-page kids’ book.

Then browse the ‘Stories’ (formerly children) section, and see if there’s anything interesting. There probably won’t be for most of you, but I find it amusing to discover that a series I thought only had two or three books now has eight, and I’m actually about six years behind.

The next section is the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section. You can spend a while in here. The books just have such interesting titles! But you’ve still got Classics, Adult Fiction, Language & Literature (that’s Shakespeare and stuff) and Horror to go, and that’s not even including all the non-fiction, which I tend to save for another time.

If you can’t find a book to read, read titles. Because some books have amazing titles, they really do. Like, I saw one earlier called, Grandma, you’re dead. Okay then. If none of them fascinate you, try the ‘In Your Pants’ trick that I learned from John Green: add ‘in your pants’ to any book title.

Here are a few of my favourites for that one:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in your pants.
Infernal Devices in your pants.
I am the messenger in your pants.
The Fourth Horseman in your pants.
(What happened to the other three?)
Life, the Universe and Everything in your pants.
Looking for Alaska in your pants.
An Abundance Of Katherines in your pants.
Thud! in your pants.
Going Postal in your pants.
And leaving aside everyone’s relatives (The Magician’s Nephew, The Time-Traveller’s Wife, The Abortionist’s Daughter, The Shamer’s Daughter, The Keeper’s Daughter… seriously, what are they doing there?), there’s one that has to take the biscuit for the best book to join the ‘in your pants’ game:
And Another Thing in your pants.

But moving swiftly on…

You’ve got your books, you’ve chosen them according to how amusing their titles are, you’ve browsed the DVD section and distracted the librarians by deliberately choosing a book which doesn’t work on the self service machine so you have to go to the counter and talk to them (come on, who doesn’t do that), and you’ve still only been in there half an hour. Forty-five minutes if you’re a slow reader and blurbs are like War & Peace.

And you’re asking me what you can do to spend longer there.


You just borrowed seven books from the library. That’s enough to last you almost a week. Now, if your libraries are anything like ours, they have nice comfy chairs, right? Purple ones? (Or is that just us?) So you sit down, you get out the first of your books, and you begin to read.


After all this about libraries, I thought I’d share with you my current loans. As you can see, I visit most sections of the library, so it’s rather an eclectic combination:

– Matilda (Roald Dahl)
– When Science Goes Wrong (Simon LeVay)
– Scat (Carl Hiaasen)
– Venus Spring: Star Turn (Jonny Zucker) – I have an excuse. I read the first one five years ago and have been looking for this ever since, didn’t even know it existed.
– Witches Abroad (Terry Pratchett)
– The Divine Invasion (Philip K Dick)
– A Hidden Life (Adele Geras)
– Hamlet (William Shakespeare) – I blame Maggie Stiefvater and midnight conversations with my friend Jacob. Just saying.)

And then the ones I had left over on my ticket from previously:
– 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C Clarke)
– 2010: Odyssey 2 (Arthur C Clarke)
– Private View: Inside Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre  (John Fraser)

So there’s my collection of library books. What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of the above – if so, what are your thoughts? And are any of these books you were thinking of reading in the near future, in which case would you like me to review them?

Let me know in the comments below!


9 thoughts on “The Library In My Bag

  1. This was meant to be posted yesterday, but WordPress was behaving oddly.
    It now won’t post it if it includes any pictures or anything.
    Sorry it’s such a long, unbroken body of text, therefore. I did try. I had an animation and everything….

  2. Haha, this sounds so much like my library strategy! Except I’ve never played the “In Your Pants” game … I’ll have to do that now, and scare the librarian in Highworth when I get back there this half term.

    And don’t worry, Hamlet’s a good play. A bit dark and depressing, but Shakespeare really is good fun! I love it anyway – I’d recommend Much Ado about Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and King Lear too. Awesome plays all of them.

    1. I like the ballet of Romeo and Juliet because I understand it. I don’t understand Shakespeare (‘Tis here, ’tis here, ’tis gone is probably my favourite bit ever, though), but ballet has no words in it. I understand dance.

  3. I finally went to the library with the kids last weekend. Got ourselves a family membership. They picked three books… (now I have to remember to return them).
    The best of their choices, in my opinion was: “The Spiffiest Giant in Town”

    No fancy kiosks there, though and I didn’t see any purple chairs. Then again I didn’t get out of the kids section.

    Then again I did have to pull them away from the computer *disappointed frown* I wish they’d stick those in some other part of the library so the kids wouldn’t play the games (I don’t care how educational they are).

    I didn’t get to go anywhere else in the library though. They had all the sections labeled with neon sighs and it was very light and airy inside…

    The library I grew up with (in walking distance from my house) was somewhat small and dark. I took knitting lessons in the basement once, and even got my picture in the paper when they did an article about it.

    I look forward to going back there more. Unfortunately, this is the month of birthdays so just about every Saturday there’s a party to go to!

    1. Ha ha, for us the month of birthdays is January. Well, sort of December/January time.
      Our library was re-done about eight years ago now (I think). All of the ones in the borough were. It used to have these square orange shelves, and all these display cases that people paid to have their stuff put in, but I don’t really remember it much. I only remember the cases because my friend reminded me! The shelves are about the only thing I remember…

  4. See, now I want to play the “In Your Pants” game with the books you actually checked out….
    “When Science Goes Wrong in your pants.”
    “The Divine Invasion in your pants.”
    “Witches Abroad in your pants.”
    “Matilda in your pants.”
    …. you’re right; it is fun! :p

    1. Ha ha ha! I like ‘The Divine Invasion’, although it’d be better if you could change it to ‘of’. So, “The Divine Invasion Of Your Pants”. I am very tempted to write a book called that now.

  5. Ahh I do love my library, which (whoa this freaked me out a bit) also has comfy, purple chairs.
    Unfortunately we’re only allowed 8 books out at a time which is trés trés frustrating, but at least it’s not as bad as when I was younger- was only allowed 5 books at a time back then. Or what is 4? Well it was horrible anyway because I could go through that many in one day.
    Terry Pratchett is fooking brilliant! Argh his books are amazing… But I’ve read most of them now which is disappointing cause I could keep on reading them. :)
    Good post, although I normally just read as opposed to playing games and such.

    1. Ha ha ha, I tend to stay there for about an hour at a time, and if I read while I’m there I’ll run out of things to last me a week :) We’re allowed 12 at a time, and I’m always hitting the limit! Although at the moment I only have 4, due to my recent acquisition (a Kindle).
      Your library was probably just designed by the same library interior designer, who liked purple chairs :D

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: