Thursday, 5 May 2011

Library Books

I love libraries. Have as long as I can remember. As a child I spent my summers in the library looking at all the "adult books" (and by that I mean adult fiction, not porn) everyone told me I couldn't read yet. Seriously, I would walk into a random section and just look at the books, read the titles while gently caressing the spines.

I was an odd child.

But that's beside the point. Libraries: love them. I mean, they let you borrow books (and other things) for free. However, not all is perfect with these books they let you borrow. One thing I love doing is breaking the spine, and I rarely get to do that with library books. On the other hand, most of the books I borrow are old with yellowed pages and that lovely smell.

But the worst.

The. Worst.

Is that 9 times out of 10 people have scribbled on the pages.

I hate that.

Not only is it disrespectful to the library, because it's their property, it's disrespectful to everyone else who wants to read the book after you. Like right now, I'm starting to read Black Snow by Mikhail Bulgakov (I'm having a Russian moment) and finding the first chapter riddled with translations.

For why?

Why would you write the translation of a word into a book that you borrowed, not knowing if the next person speaks your language - in this case Russian; which I must admit is slightly ironic; that a Russian would borrow a Russian book in English and then translate the difficult words into Russian (complete with phonetic transcription - I'm thoroughly impressed)? Why not just look up the translation and let that be that? I mean, it's hardly like they're planning on reading the book over and over again (and if they are, how are they to learn the word if the translation is right there?).

Luckily whoever did this tired after the second chapter, but I just had to get my rant on.

When I was a wee lass (just finished a book set in Ireland), our librarian would always check the books as you handed them in. If she saw any writing in them, she'd make you erase it right there on the spot, while giving you a lecture on the importance of respecting other people's property.

I miss her.

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