Reader's Exchange

This old thing? I only wear it when I want to feel uninformed.

"So, you guys are still in it, then?  Way to go!"

The kind gentleman in the queue at Walgreens was addressing me--why?  A quick self-survey revealed that I was sporting a favorite T-shirt, emblazoned with the image of a smiling mythical bird wearing buckled shoes.   The giant letters proclaiming "KANSAS" were another clue. 

Awkward.  I'd chosen the shirt for Saturday because of its nice un-rectangular fit.  Also, it's appropriate for errand running and lawn mowing, two items on the day's checklist.  And Jay the Jayhawk is cute.Basketball hoop

Embarrassed though I am to admit it, NCAA wasn't on my radar screen.

Displayed on my desk is a photo of my daughter at her KU graduation.  I love Lawrence, Kansas; it's a small Austin, minus the capital component.  So, naturally we wish KU well.   And I usually track the NCAA tournament because friends and co-workers are interested, and it's fun.  But I'm not an avid basketball fan; at that moment I couldn't have sworn (though it's a safe guess) that KU was still in the hunt.  Wearing that jersey definitely bought me unearned sports fan cred.

Should I assuage my guilt by reciting the Rock Chalk, Jayhawk chant a few dozen times?   Or maybe I could come clean about some librarian assumptions that don't hold up, either:

  • You librarians must be completely unbiased about genres and authors.  Well, we try.  We tend to seek out books beyond our comfort zones.  For me, joining three book clubs helps me achieve wider experience so that I can recommend reads in less favored areas. To balance my love for English-major standards, I'll try edgier takes on classics: Victoria Patterson's This Vacant Paradise (Wharton's The House of Mirth); Francesca Segal's The Innocents (Wharton's The Age of Innocence); Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters (Shakespeare); Peter Cameron's Coral Glynn (du Maurier's Rebecca); Hilary Jordan's When She Woke (The Scarlet Letter meets The Handmaid's Tale).

  • And surely you're not swayed by pretty book covers or clever titles?  I for one am a sucker for a daring or inventive title--which explains how I first came to appreciate Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and probably accounts for my reading a reasonable amount of nonfiction. As for judging books by their covers--you bet.  That's a good thing.  Particularly with lesser-known authors or publishers, if we select items in the interest of scope and variety, lame book covers still deter potential readers from even trying them. 
  • Even though librarians aren't attorneys or tax preparers, you can tell me which forms I need, right?  No, we really can't--and shouldn'tWe'll gladly help you locate forms when you specify names or numbers, but if we guess which paperwork you need, we could send you down the wrong path entirely. Out of concern for your well-being, we will not be speculating about that. You, our valued customer, deserve better--and by that we mean the expertise of qualified tax and legal professionals!


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