Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Shopping Spree

I got my family doctor nearly thirteen years ago, well before I ever got published. As a result, he's sort of been watching my publication journey from the back seat. In addition to delivering all of my children, he knew when I got my first book contract and always asks about my latest projects any time I come in.

He's also the head of our local library's "Friends" organization. A few years ago, he needed a judge for a writing contest the Friends were sponsoring. I agreed to be one of the judges, and have done so each year since.

You can probably see where this is going. Pretty soon being a judge became being a part of the Friends of the Library. I now attend periodic meetings that the Friends of the Library hold every couple of months. We host events and do other neat things for the library. It's a pretty neat organization.

A week or so ago I was at another Friends meeting. The head librarian wasn't in attendance, being at another meeting doing Head Librarian things. The children's librarian was there, plus my doctor, and several other Friends board people who had been roped into membership by whatever means.

One of many decisions we made was way cool: to add a collection of digital audio books on these iPod-like devices, one book per device. You check out the little device, add a battery and your own earphones, and off you go. They're very cool, and much less likely to be destroyed than CDs so they'll last longer, yet they cost about the same per book.

The trick was deciding which titles to start with. The library needs about 50 to get the collection up and running. The children's librarian didn't want to pick the titles, being as she's swamped with other duties and just doesn't have the time.

Everyone else at the table seemed to have a deer in the headlights look, sort of a, "Don't look at ME!" expression.

But me? The idea sounded like the ultimate in book shopping, like walking through a bookstore with an unlimited credit card. Are you kidding me? I get to shop for FIFTY books? Any fifty on this list? COOL! Maybe it's the English Major in me. Maybe it's because I've read a lot and that I know a lot of books. I don't know. But I thought it'd be neat.

They practically threw the list at me. I trotted home with the list and showed my husband.

He glanced it and said, "As long as you don't pick Bleak House," and grinned.

He knows I love Dickens.

I couldn't wait to sit down with a bunch of chocolate and look over the pages. The only tricky part was not picking just my favorites (which was tough--I mean, there were THREE Jane Austen titles on the list. Must . . . be . . . strong . . .).

I had to be fair. This wasn't just for me, after all. This was for the library. I had to pick a selection that a lot of people would enjoy.

That meant both adult titles and YA titles, classics and new releases, fiction as well as non-fiction. So I did some searches on to check some books I was unfamiliar with, made sure I got a several award-winners, some that were plain-old must-haves, and so forth.

The result, I think, is a well-rounded start.

And yes, I threw in Bleak House. I couldn't resist.


Luisa Perkins said...

How FUN! And I'm glad you chose Bleak House; it's one of my favorites. I'm sure something of Jane's made the cut....

Annette Lyon said...

Yep, naturally Jane made the cut!If Dickens made the list, I simply couldn't leave her out in the cold. :) I think I added a second one of hers to the list of 10 alternates in case there was money left over for additional books. And bonus! They opted to buy all of my alternates, too. So TWO Janes made the cut. Woohoo!

Jenna said...

What an enviable assignment! I bet you picked a great assortment. I really love reading your blog, Annette. Congratulations on your award, too. Well deserved.

Annette Lyon said...

Thanks on both counts, Jenna! I just discovered your blog, too. I'll have to poke around there some more.


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