And Another Thing: Of reading books and going – or not going – to the library

By: Susan Rushton
-A +A

A friend says she hasn’t gone to the library in years. It’s not because she doesn’t read, or doesn’t like books. No, it’s because she deals with ebooks and computers and has no need, in her opinion, to go to the library.

I like her, but it seems so odd, not to go to the library. I know, I know, I’m used to going to the library because I’m used to going to the library. I love going to the library because I love going to the library. I love holding books in my hands (instead of an iPad or a Kindle or a Nook) because I love holding books in my hands.

Just because this describes me doesn’t mean it has to describe everyone. But it certainly describes that crowd of people I encounter at the library every time I step inside.

Guess what. This is another book column. So let me start by telling you what leaped into my hands the other day at (ta da, surprise) at the Library: “Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street,” by William S. Baring-Gould. This is the kind of thing that wouldn’t have happened on Amazon, as often as I investigate Amazon (I admit it).

I haven’t read a Nero Wolfe mystery in years. Rex Stout’s obese detective wasn’t on my mind, so he and his main character wouldn’t have popped up on the Internet. But as I moved from one set of shelves to another, headed in a very particular and extremely unrelated direction, this book caught me. I took one step past it, then another, then turned and grabbed it. Serendipity... to the nth degree.

I added it to my unwieldy pile and rolled my eyes at myself. But how rich I felt!

Somehow a title by Spencer Quinn made its way into my hands: “Thereby Hangs a Tail: a Chet and Bernie mystery.” It’s the second in the six- book series. Bernie’s a private eye. Chet is his dog. Chet tells the story. The book would have been about a hundred pages shorter, except that Chet keeps getting distracted by smells and memories and bacon and peeing. And hearing a growl and realizing it’s coming from him.

I plan on reading another.

My book group has started meeting again, after skipping July, as always. I wasn’t really planning on taking notes when I asked what people had been reading, but suddenly I had a pen in my hand and titles started appearing in my little notebook.

Nadine enjoyed “In My Father’s Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate,” by Saima Wahab; and “Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog,” by Ted Kerasote. Do you suppose Merle, like Chet, discusses peeing and bacon, too?

Sandy brought up “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” by Isabel Wilkerson-about the African- American movement from the south to the north.

Linda had a hard time with “Death Comes to Pemberley,” the new mystery by P.D. James. This surprised her, because she usually likes this author.

Sharon likes “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James. Lots of knowing grins when she mentioned it.

Janet suggested “Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West,” by Dorothy Wickenden. The west means Colorado; and these two society girls taught homesteaders’ children on the Western Slope.

I picked up other recommendations – from these women, as well as from people who have come up to me in the past few days. But I’ve run out of room.

So let me know what you’re reading and loving lately!

Susan Rushton’s opinion column appears every other Sunday in the Auburn Journal. Reach her at