public libraries have always been an important part of my life. since i was a young child, i would frequent the library in our town with my siblings. my family has always appreciated the value public library offerings (we particularly liked the annual book sales and the gerbils by the checkout in the children’s section). so when i moved to hackney a couple years ago, i was happy to find that the public library was a stone’s throw away.

at a public library, a good music and dvd selection is just as important as the book collection and hackney was doing pretty well in those departments. on a walk through the a.v. area my eyes quickly spotted a full season of six feet under, joy division’s closer, some charlie parker, election, the decemberists, and talladega nights. a disparate, but, i would argue, good selection (ricky bobby AND ian curtis? score!).

but on my last visit there, a rather impromptu stop off on my way home a couple days ago, something rather disappointing and alarming happened. as i left the library with an armful of borrowed material, i noticed a very distinct smell. at first, i thought it was the old man who had just walked by me, so i continued on a block… but it was still there. a bit of a… funky smell which, as i rearranged the pile of books and cds in my arms, i realised was EMANATING from said pile.

after cautiously putting each item up to my nose, i discovered the culprit: mrs. dalloway. a shocking discovery. yes, mrs. dalloway had b.o. and it was bad. i had always thought she was a classy lady, but dang, she was stanky!

sometimes you forget what sluts public library material really is. that stuff really does get around to all kinds of places; some are unsavoury and some look a lot like a plastic bag on my living room table. what can i say? mrs. dalloway’s stank has to be contained while she’s staying with me.

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i’ve been reading a lot about how book publishing is changing lately. well, actually, most seem to be saying it’s dying. i’m not sure if i believe that, but either way, there’s good news for printed books and haruki murakami fans alike:

the first print run for murakami’s latest novel, 1Q84, has sold out in japan in a couple days, causing its publishers to double the second print run.

having only started reading murakami in the past year, i’ve quickly made me way through a few of his books (i’ve read three in the past 9 months). all of the ones i’ve read have been fantastic reads. his writing style and narrative arcs are subtle, precise and thus, elegant. i’ve just recently started the wind up bird chronicle (finally) and am already looking forward to 1Q84… and am very curious to see how it sells once it’s printed in english… this may not be the saviour of the printed book, but it does say a lot for star power in publishing and quality writing.

murakami