Friday, August 20, 2010

Enter To Grow In Knowledge

The first library I remember going to was the one at my elementary school. It wasn't very big, but there were still plenty of tomes that interested me. The paperback rack had titles like "Toby Tyler" and "The Search for Planet X".

(I was captivated by the thought that there might be another planet beyond Pluto, which it turns out is not a planet after all).

One afternoon, a classmate named Jeff checked out an illustrated book about mythology. Noting the photographs of nude sculptures in it, a girl named Vicky said to him, "I know why you're getting that". A number of boys in my class were into the NFL, so liked to look at Football Digest. One of the books had two pictures of Johnny Carson in it. One showed what he looked like on TV, the other what he saw when he looked in the mirror.

I spent a great deal more time at the Senior High library. It's where I hung out while classmates were eating their lunch. I had a perfect spot in which to sit. It was at a table that had a bunch of reference books on its top shelf; the books perfectly obscured my face so that people generally couldn't see me. It was also much less distracting for me, not having to lift my head every time someone crossed my peripheral vision. One of my favorite things to look at were the World Almanac and the Information Please Almanac (I saw the latter at the public library recently and had to chuckle).

A guy who was one year ahead of me came through the library one afternoon, coughing loudly. He quickly left, but not before saying, "Smoker's cough..." I laughed for a number of seconds after hearing that one and it left such an impression that here I am describing it more than two decades later. A dude who apparently didn't like the look of my face once came up to me and asked if I'd heard the hit country song by Hank Williams Jr. called "Attitude Adjustment". He said that that's what I needed. In my last week there, I picked up the day's newspaper to read the review of "Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade". They panned it, but I just couldn't believe that Spielberg was gonna let me down. That evening, I went to it and was quite impressed.

During my early college days, I sought to find out what was up with the bloke that some refer to as God. I headed to the Winona Public Library and started with Raymond Moody's seminal 70's work, "Life After Life".

It dealt with a topic that hadn't been discussed much before then, the Near-Death Experience. Reading similar works by Moody afterward led me to believe that something was definitely going on.

The thing that really sold it, in my mind, were the profound changes that these people experienced after their NDE. How could they no longer be afraid of death? No longer concerned about having a job or money? Some probably wouldn't believe until they'd had the actual experience, but the thousands of reports persuaded me that when we die, we are opened up into new worlds. It was amusing reading reports of people who were atheists wondering how in the world they could still be existing, looking back on their still body.

After not going to the library for a number of years in the mid '00's because I didn't like the idea of having to return books, I started up again last winter and have been greatly enriched by it. My old friend, Tim, said awhile back that he was constantly reading books. I doubted that there were works out there that I'd be interested in reading. I've been pleasantly proven wrong, however.

Today, after getting a massage, I had one hour to find three good tomes at the public library. I went to the God section and after a couple minutes of browsing, found "Fingerprints of God". Happy that I'd found a compelling title, I headed for the music section, but not before glancing down at the bottom shelf of the new release table and seeing a book called "Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson". It deals with the making of one of the most influential recordings of all time, "Thriller", a disc I listen to to this day.

Finally, seeing a copy of it in the audiobook section and thinking it might be interesting to read, I checked out "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream". This same author recently released a book called "Bright-Sided" whose subtitle is that Positive Thinking is Undermining America. That might be one to look at later this year.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to bring back the card catalog...


SilverNeurotic said...

As much as I've always loved books, it wasn't until college that I started to really enjoy going to the library.

Narkissos said...

love's the only way of knowing the unknown, the unseen, the incomprehensible.....
since middle skool fay's been called a book worm....well being an aspie helps me avoid social interaction....I dread it......started visiting library again....and enjoying every moment while I'm there and afterwards.....:)

Rocketstar said...

There is something sexy about the library and all of those books. Especially that hot librarian with those glasses and those atbles that are just at the perfect height... wait, is this out loud?