A consistent low snore broke the sound of a quiet occasional rustle that is the local library. As I walked beyond the steps of North Kensington’s fine example of Victorian architecture, past Information with a view towards row upon row of ruthlessly alphabetised books, I tried to figure out where the afternoon nap was coming from.
I was on a quest for my next read.
As always I start off ambitiously, taking myself to where I think the author might reside. I looked at H’s recommendations: Emily St. John Mandel. Hmm. To a child of the late 70’s and 80’s that meant ‘M’ to me, however I am aware ’tis not always thus.
I headed towards the bearer of Magnificent and Marvellous but first my eye caught the ‘L’ section. I’m a fan of Elmore Leonard’s novels…perhaps he could be my next read? It’d be interesting to see what they had of his, and an immediate indication of quality in terms of the oft neglected crime reader at large.
Rounding the corner I glanced down. There they were – and not just one or two but several titles to browse. I knelt down on the municipal ‘carpet’ tiles. The snoring continued somewhere as I picked each book up, flicking through them one by one.
To my left a gentleman in mustard coloured cords sat quietly reading. The gentle murmur of the ladies at the Information desk was a classic moment in time – unchanged by the outside world, history, or the day’s events.
Getting up off my hunkers I wandered over. An inquisitive face looked up over rectangular framed reading glasses: “Can I help you?”
“Yes please. I’m looking for this author, I think she’ll be in ‘M’ but I wanted to check” I said showing her H’s recommendations on my ‘phone.
I followed her to locate the book in question. She was indeed where my schooling some years back told me she should be.
I carried on, past various other suggested authors by my chum in L.A. I had a notion for a classic, but I needed humour above all else. The choice was baffling, so over to the Biography section I went.
Two large deep-silled windows framed this section. One was occupied by a young girl seated with a laptop resting on bent legs, and the other by the library rule breaker – out for the count, eyes firmly closed enjoying her nap in the afternoon sun.
I smiled. Ah well perhaps today wasn’t my lucky day. I started towards the main door when I spotted it: ‘Recommended by the Librarians’. Eagerly I approached. There it was on a smooth wooden shelf: Catch 22 – and my next best friend.
Save our libraries: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/efforts/save-our-libraries