It's easy to request books from the library, but if others are in line before me, I never know when they will become available. Three books, requested at different times and with different numbers of people ahead of me, suddenly became available at the same time—just before my trip to New Hampshire. (Yes, I realize I haven't written about that yet....) No problem, I thought. I have two long plane rides, with intermediate stops, and I'm sleeping all by myself in the new house, so I'll have plenty of time to read.
I always think that, and it's never true.
The short version of the story is that I found myself with three books to read and four days before they were due back at the library. And all of them so popular they couldn't be renewed, because you can't renew a book that has a hold on it. The fine assessed for overdue books isn't large, but when people are waiting, I feel an obligation to be on time.
Four days, 750 pages, three reviews. What is this, college?
Actually, the third review is only half done. Last night I hurriedly typed in the quotations I had marked for the last book (I hope they're legible; I realized at one point that I'd typed a sentence with my fingers skewed on the keyboard), then jumped in the car and made it to the library five minutes before closing. But when you get an extension on a paper deadline, the first thing you do isn't sit down and finish the paper. (Wait. Maybe that's why I didn't do better in college.)
On Sunday we went to a picnic that we attend annually. The food's great, and the people pleasant, but even though the friends are mostly Porter's, I always feel that I should, as my father put it, "be more sociable." Thus I rarely do what i'd prefer to do on a sunny day in the park: read a book. But I was under the gun this time, so I brought one with me to read on the car ride. I chatted happily during the meal, but when we were finished eating and the others at my table had drifted off to other activities and conversations, I once again pulled out my book.
One of my favorite truisms about the difference between introverts and extroverts is this: An extrovert believes it's okay to interrupt someone sitting and reading, on the grounds that that person is surely only reading because he has no one to talk to.
Sure enough, I had read not one page when someone came and sat down with me, wanting to know what I was reading, and why. I didn't really mind the interruption, as she was a pleasant person, so I explained the situation. She was sympathetic, and soon left me to my book, but not without shaking her head incredulously at the idea that I would write a book review when no one was paying me for it.
Sometimes I wonder myself.