I’m living on the edge these days. And I’m not referring to the 2009 Toyota that awaits me in the library parking lot. The book bag on the front seat bulging with selections from five different reading discussions–that’s what triggers my panic attacks.
- Yesterday, for example, I showed up right on time for the 1:00 Baca Center book discussion on George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara, hoping that the pages of the book weren’t somehow smoking from the laserlike intensity that propelled me through the final thirty pages during my 12:00 lunch hour. That was a close one.
- Another group I attend chose Rembrandt’s Jews for their meeting later this month; it’s more of a challenge for interlibrary loan than I’d expected. My husband and I both need that copy, so the book’s last-minute arrival will likely instigate a marital share/read/who-has-it-now routine rivaling anything ever scripted on I Love Lucy.
- Thanks to some speedy readers ahead of me in the queue for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, my turn came up several days in advance of next week’s Round Rock New Neighbors group meeting at Barnes and Noble. I’ll return the favor and check the volume back in promptly.
- A library colleague and I challenge each other to read work-related nonfiction titles, and we’re finishing up Paco Underhill’s Call of the Mall and Why We Buy before our discussion date next week.
- I’m familiar with W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe (it inspired the movie Field of Dreams) but need to re-enjoy it before the library’s adult book club discussion on March 2.
To complicate matters, I’m compelled to indulge in non-discussion books, probably to sustain the illusion of being in control. Though currently engrossed in Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves, I had reluctantly bypassed it for several weeks in favor of assigned reading. Swan Thieves is wonderful, and I regret not giving in and picking it up sooner. Here’s just one reason why: the book is an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) intended to be perused and remarked upon prior to publication.
What sort of infraction does one commit by reading an ARC when the final version is now available? Will be a citation be involved, or does a subtle shift in the space-time continuum occur? I’m reminded of Steven Wright’s announcement that “I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and nearly went back in time.”