The object in my junk drawer 


There is an object in my junk drawer.  It is my New York City Public Library Card.  I don’t really think it is a junk piece.  Not at all.  I used to live in New York (Queens), back in the late ’80’s.  There was a branch of the library a block from my workplace. That was on 1st Avenue and 68th street. Or was it 67th? I would go to the library to borrow books and actually lug them home (walk to the subway, in the subway waiting for the train to arrive, at subway stop where I lived, on the walk home).  I don’t know how I managed to bring books home all the way from Manhattan.

I totally love libraries, and the NY Public Library is such a big and great place to find books of all kinds.  The card is laminated, has a lion on the front, just like the lion statues on the front of the main library and the text that shows my name is in a maroon color.

I found, while I lived in NY, that New Yorkers loved to read on the subway, in the park, in any place where there was a chair and a coffee to drink.  In the subway, one didn’t just stare into space.  They read books, mostly to relieve the boredom of the train ride, and to avoid eye contact.

I don’t know now how New Yorkers read their books.  Do they have their Kindle? Or read on their iPhone Kindle app?  Or do they actually hold an honest-to-God paperback or hardback? I would guess technology would trump tradition in this case.  It is easier to read with a Kindle or iPhone, jostled by other subway riders or hanging by the straps trying not to fall into someone’s space.

I am proud to hold a library card from NYC PL.  It is something so authentically New York.  I should put the card in a frame and have it on display at my desk.  Like a badge of having been through life in New York city.

This library card is a symbol of my literary journey.  I will keep it safe to remind me that the journey is just getting into a groove.

This library card is also a symbol of hope – hope that one day at least one book of mine will share the shelves of the books in the NYCPL or at least, in our own city library.  I don’t really know, however, whether a book, once published, would automatically get added to the NYCPL catalogue of books.  In my city library, the members of the library have to submit book suggestions for their library to buy.  Not all of their suggestions are taken up.  I find that daunting.  I now look at my library card and try to remember what books I actually checked out of the NYCPL.  Most likely, bestsellers.  In fiction, in romance, or mystery.  What else would someone who once worked for a living by growing human cells do to relax their mind?

Kindle, my kindle

There’s something to be said about having a Kindle.  I resisted for a long time getting one for myself.  But the last few days, I decided I needed a Kindle.  Why? You say.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the feel and substance of a book between my hands.  I like poring over them, going from page to page, maybe looking towards the back or skimming the table of contents.  I like the heft of a book, something that tells a person that I’m serious about reading it – especially those voluminous novels by Ann Radcliffe.

However, space is getting a bit cramped in my home.  I have several bookcases, and the most recent one has already gotten most of its real estate taken.  I admit, not all those books belong to me.  However, in the future, I may have to really cut back on buying my books, even if they are from second hand booksellers.  It’s just a bit of a practicality.

So I got my Kindle yesterday.  It seems surprisingly smaller than I had imagined it to be.  And, it is black (it could have been white, but I got the black).  It has ads on it (cheaper version) but what I do is turn it over when not in use so the ads don’t show.  I don’t mind the ads.  I went to check out some ebooks from the library.  Turns out that our town does support the Kindle and I can easily borrow or put a book on hold using my Kindle.  I downloaded two books already, one is Wuthering Heights, and the other is the Biography of Dorothy Day.

It’s really convenient is unexpected ways.  For example, as I recline to read my book (the paper version) my two cats decide to take turns sitting on my lap.  They tend to rub their faces against my book, and then sometimes they get overcome by the experience that they want to bite my book.  And, usually, my books are biggish.  So that means the cats really have to contend with the book.  I sometimes hold my book afar so that I can still sneak a read while petting whatever cat I have on my lap at the time. I know, I really feel guilty about this.  I ought to stop reading, right? And put my focus on my cats.  But there are days when that isn’t possible.  Assignments are needed to be read, and papers are due.

With the Kindle, I find that its small size is just right.  I hold it in one hand and the pet settles on my lap happily enjoying cozy time with Mom.

Now that I read what I wrote, I figure maybe Kindles aren’t known to be cat friendly.  Only cat owners would know this. What’s the secret word?  Cats like it when Mom is not so obviously buried in a book.  Plus, the Kindle doesn’t look at all like a book, and they figure it’s just another piece of furniture, or something miniature they can ignore.

I suppose I could post this in my Amazon review. How many stars? I’d say 5.  I am so enamored of my Kindle.  I plan to download zillions of books in it.  I relish the lazy afternoons when I can settle back with it outside in the backyard, sipping an umbrella-ed drink, and get into the classics, or even a textbook for my MFA class.

And, that’s also a good thing.  For class, I have spent a small chunk of money for textbooks.  I haven’t looked into this yet, but I would bet good money that Kindle supports the books that I will be reading for my coursework.  Another win!

Well, I appreciate your attention.  Call me the latecomer in the Kindle appreciation family.  Enjoy your pina colada!