Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to Weeding Expectations!

Just going by how I have been spending my time, that's what I'll have to write about.  Weeding yes; reading no.  On Fridays, I'll feature the soon-to-be popular "Is This a Weed?" feature.

Anyway, changes are a'comin' to Wuthering Expectations.  I can think of two ways to start.  Here's the negative one.

The libraries in my new home are much worse than what I'm used to.  I had quick access to nearly anything I needed.  I do not, not anymore.  So I wonder how that will affect my reading, and writing.  Just a guess:  my reading will become more American, and more English.  And less obscure.  The big famous stuff, we've got.  Almost everything published by the Library of America. Dickens, Eliot, Balzac will not be a problem; Margaret Oliphant and Segei Aksakov will require an extra step or two.  Interlibrary Loan costs $1.25!

One could, I know, buy books.  I have barely purchased a book for the last four or five years.  I hesitate to undo that difficult feat of self-denial and willpower.  I will not undo it!  Except for that box from Powells that should arrive today, which includes a Margaret Oliphant novel.  Except for that.

That box contains only books not available at my new library.  Since I have known about the move, I have been neurotically checking the online catalog of the new place.  This was months before I moved.  Absurd.  Irresistible.

The positive version of this post:  my new town has an excellent library.  Superb, charming, well stocked, by any reasonable standard.  Just not by the unreasonable standard of the libraries in St. Louis, Missouri.  What I really want to do is not complain - my complaints are all about dandelions and tree seedlings - but celebrate the extraordinary St. Louis libraries.  Wuthering Expectations owes a lot to the St. Louis Public Library.  So a little of that this week.


  1. I can't believe how long you have gone without buying a book - most impressive!

    Looking forward to is this a weed...

  2. I'm not sure that Tom Clancy week's going to be as exciting as your Weird France weeks have been, Amateur Reader, but I'm sure you'll do your best to rise above your new library system's limitations. In the meantime, happy reading and weeding in your new digs!

  3. I feel your pain over the loss of your libraries-here in Manila we have some of the world's biggest malls, ten million people and No public libraries-I also find your restraint in not buying any books very impressive-

  4. I can't listen to moaning without adding some of my own -- just take a look at our local library's catalogue and tell me if you find a single thing of interest. Argyll & Bute Libraries Best of luck with the move.

  5. That is still better than my local library. They are really poor on the classics. I have more Dickens than they do. They have lots of whodunnits (which fortunately I like in moderation), and romance, and multiple copies of Danielle Steele and John Grisham books. So I tend to buy classics and borrow whodunnits.

  6. I'm very sorry to hear about your new library situation, Amateur Weeder, and I'm especially surprised to hear that interlibrary loan is so expensive. (Ours is free, even if a book comes from across the country.) Perhaps your library is receptive to suggestions about book purchases: many libraries welcome them.

    Good luck!

  7. So sorry to hear the libraries in your new town are unsatisfactory and they charge for interlibrary loan. Perhaps it might be time to consider an e-reader for which you can get all sorts of free and obscure reading material from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive especially.

  8. This post serves, for me, as a lesson in rhetoric. My new library is excellent! $1.25 sounds entirely reasonable (it'll take a lot of ILLs to add up to an e-reader)! It's just that my old library was unbelievable.

    I've paid attention, for example, to mel u's comments about libraries in Manila. I mean, that's tragic. So, no complaints from me, no real complaints.

    I'll just need to plan a little differently. The next journey to Weird France will take a little more forethought. My library is, I must say, well stocked in all things Ubu.

    The book buying - not counting gifts, I think it averages to about four a year for the last four or five years. One of those years, I bought just two books. Before the new regime, a hundred books a year was probably typical.

    Marieke - I'll take that bet. Search for The Ebb-Tide. Or The Heart of Midlothian. Or The House with Green Shutters.

  9. If Balzac isn't a problem, you should have enough to keep you busy until they build the perfect library!

  10. verbivore - Man, that's right. It's not like there's some shortage of good books here. I'm complaining, absurdly, about a moderate decrease in their immediate abundance.

  11. I have not yet been charged for ILL but I suspect, with the budget cuts, that it will come soon.

    Sorry to hear how disappointing the libraries are out there!

  12. See, $1.25, I'll bet that's not even the postage for some books. Why shouldn't I pay that? Or, really, why should someone else?