At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an
exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish
Policeman's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.
Doesn't it sound enticing? Book blurb writing is an art all of its own. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to more than skim the book before I had to return it, but it got me interested in the setting - a settlement of Jewish people in Alaska. Did you know that at the beginning of WWII, the Alaska Territory almost became an international refuge for Jews? It didn't happen, but it opens a can of 'what ifs', doesn't it?
The book was one of the offerings from the "Looking for a good read?" bin at the library. You might think that because librarians are book loving sorts this bin is full of carefully considered, beloved books they are eager to share with the public. In truth, the bin is where overflow books go when the shelving carts are full. Still, they are books someone else took home, and quite likely thought were very good. I like to browse through the bin to see what other people are reading. Sometimes I discover treasure, and sometimes I carry on to the stacks to seek out old friends like Helen MacInnes, Georgette Heyer, Forsyth, Ludlum and Christie.
I'm at the library very frequently - not because I read so much, but because the books I bring home for the Peanuts get read about a million times a day. One week of "Duck in a truck stuck in the muck" is more than sanity can handle, let alone three, so we need a steady supply of new material.
The lovely thing about libraries - well one of the lovely thing about libraries - is the opportunity to dabble without commitment. In the same visit, you can borrow books about crochet, how to write a screen play, Italian cookery, trees of Ontario, collected columns of Nora Ephron, and an account of the 1993 peacekeeping efforts in Mogadishu, Somalia. Want to know more about dinosaurs? No problem! Need to replumb your bathroom? This is the place! Not quite skilled in applying a smokey eye? There's a book for that. Always wanted to learn about Heidegger or feng shui? Librarians don't judge your choices, they're just delighted to see you.
Do you know where your public library is? Have you stopped by recently? Why don't you say hello, and introduce yourself? The world of books awaits you!
Libraries are about much more than books these days. They offer internet access, magazines and newspapers, movies, workshops, social groups, homework help clubs, and much more. Many even offer coffee, and very few still insist on quiet. Librarians of today have renounced the stereotype of sensible shoes, hair bun, glasses and prim demeanor.