Abusing My Library Card

June 2, 2009 at 1:11 am (Library Late Fees)

In addition to buying too many books, I also check out from the library.  This usually ends up being a mistake because I forget to return them.  I also forget to read them.  Every week I visit the library at least once, accompanied with my trusty list of reading material.  While gathering the books on the list I usually hear other books calling out my name.  These books always have a catchy cover or poetic title promising hours of entertainment.  Needless to say, they must come home with me, doomed to sit together in a pile until they are overdue. 

I have the best intentions of reading these books, but somehow they remain unread as I move on to some other novel I read a review on or even a book that just happened to be resting beside my bed.  Last week I had to pay $4 in library late fees.  In my head I was cursing myself and thinking of the $1 hardbacks on the For Sale table, and the four treasures I could have found.

After being inspired by Nick Hornby’s essays on buying books and then not reading them, I will try to establish some library accountability by posting a list of library books I check out.  Maybe this will help me read them.  Or maybe it will just reveal the depths of my illness.

Before I share my list keep in mind that I have an explanation for checking out each book.  Something led me to each one.

The Song Reader– Lisa Tucker

Anthem Of A Reluctant Prophet– Joanne Proulx

Big Mouth & ugly girl– Joyce Carol Oates

Swann’s Way– Marcel Proust

I will keep you updated on my reading.  Or maybe my disappointment in myself for allowing them to collect dust and more late fees.



  1. Mindy said,

    Chaney, I believe I have such a sickness that you speak of. I find that I am addicted to purchasing and borrowing books that I never have time to read and usually know I have no time to read. I visit my local library and check out only after my arms are overflowing with books and I cannot carry even one more title. I read maybe 2 or 3 of them and rack up $12 fines sometimes. Speaking of library books, you have just reminded me that my books are due on June 4th. Hopefully I can get them there on time, this time. 🙂


  2. Sarah said,

    I was wondering who this was. I’m glad you like that Neko Case album, I’ve had it on repeat for like 2 months and I’m going to see her in Nashville next month, even though I went and saw her in Birmingham in April. If you get a chance to see her on this tour you should try to, she’s amazing.
    I also check out lots and lots of books, I’ll end up reserving like 10 books to pick up, kind of forget, and then have to carry out a pile of books. I’m not that great at returning them either, but I try to always return a book whenever I pick one up. I paid $18 in library fees a few months ago and I tried to think of it as giving it to the community, not as being punished for turning in books late.
    Question: Is that “putting a positive spin on things” or “justification”? Something to ponder.

    Hope you’re doing well, glad you are blogging!

  3. creativelandslide said,

    Sarah, thanks for letting me know I’m in good company. My guilt is gone and I’m patting myself on the back for being such a good citizen. More people should care enough to have late fees, support the community, unless I’m waiting for a particular book. In that case it should be turned in early.

  4. mary said,

    I loved The Song Reader and Big Mouth and Ugly Girl. Lisa Tucker is one of my favorites. I love your blog.

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