Monday, January 14, 2013
Changes But Not Goodbye
I am going to reveal a well-kept secret. I am a writer---and after working for one of the most beautiful libraries in the world for over a decade (Bangor Public of course) I am going to retire from the library world to write full time. This is such a bittersweet moment for me, because I have been blessed to work with a group of amazing people, staff and patrons, and surrounded by two of my greatest joys: books and others who love books as much as I do. I will truly miss working at this library.
Sarah will be blogging still, and facilitating the meetings, along with Sue, our newest library employee and veteran book group member. Sue is a prolific reader and has her own book review blog over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. We are thrilled to have her jump over to help facilitate this wonderful group. And, you can't get rid of me that easily because I will still be a member!
Sarah has some wonderful ideas in store for the future, but I will let her tell you all about them in her next post. I know the book vote should be ready soon and she has some great books on there for February's reads.
In the future, you can find me over at my new blog: http://jandelima.blogspot.com
My debut novel, Celtic Moon, will be available September 24, 2013 from ACE/Penguin. This is the first book in my urban fantasy series based on Celtic mythology. It has strong romantic elements, but also graphic fantasy elements, which is probably how I ended up in the urban fantasy realm of things.
Unfortunately, I can't make this month's meeting---but I WILL be there in February!
So, I shall see you all in a month.
I would like to end this final blog post by reflecting on my first. This is a real library story and one of the many reasons why I will miss my day job. If you have a moment, please read it. Also, remember that Fifty Shades of Grey had not been published at the time this library event took place. If so, I am sure this wonderful lady would have requested it.
Hope to see you at a book group meeting in the near future,
DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER OR READERS BY WHAT THEY READ
by Jan Delima
Because this blog is about stories, I'm going to begin with one. Unlike the fiction we'll normally be discussing, this story is true, but no less magical, and the perfect example of why I have the most wonderful job on earth.
About eight years ago, while I was shelving fiction on the third floor of the library, an older woman approached me. She seemed fragile, pushing a walker on wheels to support her weight, with a basket in front for gathering books and other items too heavy to hold. An embroidered shawl draped across her shoulders to ward off the chill in a non air conditioned library in August. (Thankfully, we now have air conditioning.)
I soon learned she wanted help finding a book.
"I'm looking for a love story," she told me. "Something good."
Not wanting to offend her with the more graphic romances, the kind I read, I gathered a few books by popular christian fiction authors, Lori Wick and Francine Rivers; I might even have had an Amish romance in there for good measure.
As I loaded the books into her walker basket, she frowned down at the books and then back at me. She waved me toward her, leaned forward so only I could hear, and whispered, "I'm looking for something a little more spicy."
A bit surprised, I held back a smile and thought of a good author with a higher "spice" level. "Have you ever read a book by Nora Roberts?" I asked her.
She nodded and seemed pleased as I led her to the aisle of Nora, my personal reference for this amazing author whose books take up an entire shelving unit. As I was gathering some of my favorites, Carolina Moon and Honest Illusions, treasures in my mind, I turned around, excited to share stories that had brought me hours of enjoyment - and discovered the woman had disappeared.
She had wandered off with her silent walker, however she hadn't gone far. I found her just around the corner in the Anne Rice section, holding a copy of An Interview With a Vampire.
At that point, it wasn't so much the book that surprised me but the woman's next words. "I heard this author wrote another set of books, under a different name."
Remember, this was eight years ago, Anne Rice had yet to write her books on Jesus, and the only other series I was aware of was written under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure.
"Anne Rice wrote an erotic trilogy," I told her.
"That's the one," she said. Her voice had become less hushed, her stance less feeble. "Can you get it for me?"
I did, and as I handed this woman a copy of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty: an erotic novel of tenderness and cruelty for the enjoyment of men and women, I must have hesitated, because she patted me on the hand and gave me a confident smile.
"Dear," she said with a consoling sigh, "I'm ninety-two years old, there's nothing I haven't done or seen. Just give me the book."
I realized then, and am reminded of daily, that I am blessed to work among wonderful people, staff and patrons, many of whom are kindred spirits. So, I will end this first blog post with a wish from me to you...
Don't judge a book by its cover, readers by what they read, and may we all live to be ninety-two and still want something a little spicy in our lives.
Hope to see you in our library someday soon,