Tuesday, July 30, 2013

reading out in the corners


i am a frequent borrower at my local library. there's this brilliant service (bibliotek.dk) where you can order books from any library in the country and they send them to your local library. when they come, you get an SMS and then you pick them up and read them. i'm always ordering strange and esoteric things like postmodern theory from the mid-90s, books about early soviet textiles or artists that were popular in the 50s or else the entire collected works of whoever has just won the nobel prize for literature. as one of the librarians said today, "you're really out in the corners."

i laughed when she said it, because it really is true. but of course, i had to think about it afterwards as well. what does it really mean to be out in the corners? i hasten to say that it was said and meant in a kind way and was not at all an insult. we were laughing because very often when i go to check out my reserved books, the self-service machine won't allow me to do it - it always wants some other number or says that the book doesn't exist in the system or some such error. this means i very often have to go to the desk and have someone help me. in this way, i've gotten to know all of the library personnel very well. which is how the "you're really out in the corners" comment came about.

i took it as another way of saying off the beaten path. when i look for my books on the reserved shelves, i see a lot of self-help, how-to books, cookbooks, contemporary crime novels (i do order my share of those at times) and those infernal 50 shades books. those are all on the beaten path, down the middle, ordinary. today i picked up the tom phillips book (he's the artist who did the humument altered book i told you about a few days ago). at the same time i returned slavoj zizek's latest tome, less than nothing: hegel and the shadow of dialetical materialism. i'll admit i only read a couple of chapters of it, not the whole thing. i go for such a book occasionally to exercise my brain (this was, i will say, one of the more lucid zizek since sublime object of ideology) and to remind me of the thrills i found in grad school. but of late, i've also been reading douglas kennedy novels, which aren't exactly lacanian marxism.

which leads me to another aspect of what it might mean to read out in the corners - to read broadly, all over the spectrum, thoroughly in some sense, covering all the bases. i like that idea too. i read a lot and i love reading. i can't go to sleep at night without it. sometimes i want to read to relax. sometimes to think and be challenged. sometimes to help me figure out what my opinion is. sometimes to enlighten. sometimes to learn. sometimes just to be entertained. sometimes to get lost. reading can give you so many different experiences and feelings - the whole spectrum, really. and i guess that's what it really means to be out in the corners.

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how charming are these diving pigs?

5 comments:

celkalee said...

'out in the corners' I have not ever heard that one. I like it. I go there as well. Unfortunately, my local branch closed and I am reduced to Kindle, wah! On the move to another library.

Sammi said...

i would take a comment like that as a compliment for sure. i don't want to be in the boring middle.

i have actually managed to read 3 books in the last week- the first three harry potter books! i just finished azkaban today and thought it would be good to catch up on the internet tonight before starting goblet of fire tomorrow. those books make me think of you because you always try to read them super quick!

julochka said...

hmm, I see the cats helped me with a little typing there at the beginning. will have to fix that later.

cestlavietlb said...

Out in the corner. Off the wall! I think it's a huge compliment! Your library staff are probably just thrilled to have someone who reads so widely. I can only imagine it must get *really* boring to hand over the same titles week after week...

Wish our library was as functional! However with a 5 year wait list for even the most popular titles to be ordered let alone available to borrow...yeah no. I'll stick to my Kindle free books!

Veronica Roth said...

Hey corner girl, I just ordered Humament from Amazon UK no good borrowing it, this is a book I have to own, and also, ordered a book called 1913, The Year Before. BBC has had excerpts from it and I've fallen in love with the random stories of the "calm before the storm". Bet you'll like it. :)