Reader's Exchange

Why 7 is our lucky number

"Cool!" my husband announced, displaying a missive from Saturday's mail. "It's addressed specifically to you; sounds like a ransom note." 

Fortunately, my cute sunroofed hatchback had not actually been taken captive, but someone clearly wishes to wrest it from my ownership.  The flyer proclaimed:  "Linda, We want your 2009 Matrix!"

And it's not the only notice like this.  Are you getting them, too?  Following the self-congratulatory stage ("Can I pick 'em or what!!!?") we're supposed to render up what the car dealers really want--orders for new vehicles to replace ones we just sold them at prices we're expected to find tantalizing. 

Good luck with that.  A recalcitrant auto customer, the type who delights in paying off the car before interest kicks in and seeing how many years of service I can squeeze out of it, I value longevity over glamour.  Consequently, "wanted" appeals just come across as creepy.   But they also (I admit it) spark momentary excitement--as do those alerts from realtors, claiming that potential buyers are eyeing our modest homestead with acquisitive intent.

I do get a little charge out of those notices hinting that others covet our house and neighborhood.  We like our place, naturally, but it's not going to make the cover of Southern Living anytime soon.  Yet, following receipt of one of those ingratiating letters, the windows acquire an extra sparkle and the exterior exudes more architectural interest for a few days.   Covetousness may be one of the seven deadly sins, but it works great for commercial purposes.

Magnificent Seven posterI've just realized that the entire Seven Deadly Sins lineup--pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth--also benefits libraries.

I bet you didn't know that our library catalog has subject headings for each of the individual topics: in Dewey language they're gluttony, lust, avarice, anger, laziness, envy, and pride and vanity.  You could address the whole package with the subject search "deadly sins".

Concerned that an insufficient achievement level may reveal slothful tendencies?  Try Rory Vaden's Take the Stairs:  7 Steps to Achieving True Success (2012), Adam Pash's Lifehacker:  The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better (2011), or other guides found with subject headings like "success" or "time management".  And, given the number of diet books we offer, the gluttony issue is more than adequately addressed.  

Aware that this will come out wrong, I'll say it anyway:  I'm mainly interested in the other five deadlies.

Think about it.  You can locate many thoughtful treatises on subjects like "self-control", "generosity", or the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude/courage) on our nonfiction shelves.

But for pride, covetousness, lust, anger, and envy, we offer entire sections dedicated to imagined scenarios of their effect on mankind:  we call these areas Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Westerns.  As collection developer, I have the happy task of ensuring the availability of a current and wide selection of this very material.  You're welcome!


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