Update, May 30: The results are in, and it was a close one… but the winner is Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case that put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature. Perhaps this is a consequence of my law friends and my Victorianist friends! In any case, you will notice that I’ve put another — and different — book under the “carrots is reading in print” category in my sidebar, but that’s only because the library is closed for the Memorial Day weekend. Soon I will be reading Leviathan!
My local library does not have many books inside.
Since I up and graduated, I no longer have lending privileges at Rice’s library. (This will be rectified soon, as I will be working part-time for Rice over the summer and, in the fall, I’ll be teaching classes again.) Anyway, I won’t be able to check out any books at Rice at least until JULY, which is unacceptable. So I headed over to the closest public library — the Looscan branch at Westheimer and Weslayan — and got myself a library card.
The Looscan branch does not aspire to be a research library, and so I certainly don’t expect a full collection of scholarly journals and multiple editions of rare Thackeray novels. Its collection is definitely skewed toward the audio book and the New York Times bestseller. But still. A quarter of the children’s section is empty shelves. Funding cuts, I’m sure. It’s terribly depressing.
They did, however, have the book I was looking for, a title that is currently featured as one of the titles in my sidebar: Columbine by Dave Cullen, which is turning out to be a really compelling read. The fact that I find this book compelling, coupled with the fact that I want to discuss it with everyone I encounter, unsettles others. I am willing to make strangers uncomfortable, however, because (a) I have accepted and meditated upon my interest in the school shooting phenomenon and (b) I’m on a nonfiction kick, and Cullen has produced a well-researched and well-written piece of literary journalism.
The book is due on Monday. (Accustomed to the longer loan period privileges of a graduate student, I was a little shocked at the two-week lending period.) I’m looking to check out another piece of nonfiction for pleasure reading, and I have a few contenders in mind. So! Carrots readers! Are you ready to participate in your first poll? Because I need some help deciding.
I am perhaps favoring one book, but I will not disclose the title and skew the results.