A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library


Well, in the lib­rary — I’m ter­rible at titles. But there I was, queueing to return a slew of unread books (includ­ing, to my regret, a copy of Im Westen nichts Neues, aka All Quiet on the Western Front) when I noticed that the per­son two ahead of me was hold­ing my book! Blimey, I thought, she’s actu­ally taken the thing out. What’s more, I don’t know her! I wrestled with the idea of tap­ping her on the shoulder, gurn­ing in a seri­al-killer-esque way, and ask­ing her what she thought of the book, but since there were more than a dozen people around, I didn’t want to sound like an ego mani­ac, or scare the stuff­ing out of her. What would you do if an author accos­ted you in a pub­lic space and deman­ded a debrief?

Anyhoo, the thick plottened moments later: She handed the book to the young lib­rar­i­an, who scanned it and told her that the fine was £3.20. Interesting! I thought (and pos­sibly said aloud). Could it be that she was so des­per­ate to fin­ish this grip­ping mas­ter­piece of sci­ence fic­tion that she refused to return it, even though the dead­line had whooshed by? Or had she thrown it over her shoulder in dis­gust one late spring even­ing and only found the bloody thing last night, jammed behind a heat­er?

The excite­ment, read­er. The excite­ment.

Technorati Tags Start

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Technorati Tags End

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

9 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library”

  1. No no! Letting people know you are the author of the book they’re hold­ing is like brag­ging how much sex you get. Everyone knows, if you really got that much sex, you wouldn’t feel the need to brag about it. So, res­ist!

    Pretend you see people car­ry­ing your books all the time.

    Let them think you are a super-stud.

    -mar­tin

  2. Maybe your book appeals to slow read­ers. Don’t take this per­son­ally; I’ve read some glow­ing online reviews of my books that have clearly been writ­ten by people who might struggle with Dan Brown. But we can’t com­plain, can we, without sound­ing like Jonathan Franzen?

  3. You’re right, Martin. Next time, I’ll anounce, ‘Will I see any­one NOT car­ry­ing one of cri­ti­cially-acclaimed books today? Hmm?’

    Ssssh!’

    Quieter: ‘Sorry.’

  4. Hurray for slow read­ers, Tim. I worry that people read too fast these days, and gulp down all the nuances when they should savour them. Crikey — am I sound­ing like Franzten?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *