Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fighting the Good Fight

Things are same old-same old around the old Snot Factory. Production is up. Demand is down. Piles of tissues and empty cough medicine bottles soar. Spirits plummet. Meh.

But at least these last few days have given me a chance to establish a stronger foothold in my ongoing war with Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice. Those of us who live in South Central Wisconsin are entrusted with the keys to a very special kingdom; the magical realm of LinkCat. Whatchadois, go to Barnes and Noble dot com or whatnot and scope out the newest releases, then go to LinkCat and order them from the library system. You must use the secret code number, cleverly hidden in plain sight, on the back of your library card. In the past 10 years , I can count the books they DIDN'T have on less than one hand. And who needs to read 'The 'Secret Life of Dust Mites' anyway? You are put on the list and when the book becomes available, anywhere in the state practically, Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice calls you to come to your local branch to pick it up. Simple, no? You'd think so wouldn't ya? But NO! A thousand times NO! It's very, very tricksy as it turns out.

See the rub comes in that you never know exactly when the books will arrive. Sure the list tells you that you are 7th in line of 400 or 6,000th in line of 72 and a half gagiggabillion and this lulls you into a false sense of 'Oh I Can Order A Bunch Of Books Because I Am Way Down On The List For Most Of Them And They Won't All Come At Once' security. This is sensible. This is logical. But this is wrong. It's very, very wrong. Because you forgot to factor in Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice .

See Harriet spends all day in the library. She's read everything. She sees us coming in and then going out into the bright sunshine. Living our little lives. She's bored. She's vengeful. And she plots. She's on the Internets Y'all. The Matrix. She can SEE you through your light sockets and toaster and stuff. She knows when you have nothing to read but the back of the NyQuil Bottle, and so she holds out the four books she already has for you until eight more come in. Then she waits a little longer until she can see you have other stuff to do and then she calls you. OR, as has been the case lately, she calls you everyday for a week with 3 books each time. Books you forgot you even asked for, you requested them so long ago, but once you see them, you HAVE to read them and they are all due back in two weeks. They just coincidentally all came in at once. All fifteen of them! Right. She's a formidable opponent, is Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice. But she underestimated me this time around. She didn't see the latest weapon in my arsenal. This plague I have, for whatever reason, escaped her radar. Heh! So 'check' and 'mate' HTALB! (It's no coincidence that half of the letters in her initials spell 'HAL' by the way.)

I have plowed through the books this week! The codeine cough medicine made some of them even better than they actually were I suspect, but I do have three recommendations for stellar reads!

*The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes-Really good, DaVinci Code style! LOVED it! All of the Vatican and archaeological intrigue over religious artifacts. In fact, I liked it better than the DaVinci Code.
*The Sacred Blood by Michael Byrnes-SEQUEL! Yup, Harriet screwed up and sent them together. Usually you get the sequel 10 months before the first book or so long after the first book that you can't remember what it was about. I liked this one better than the first one and that's sayin' something.
*The Last Child by Michael Hart- This is a mystery that goes over and under and around and through! I love this kind of book where you think you have it all figured out and then NOT SO FAST! This book and Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care are two of the best books I've read in a long time! And that's not the DayQuil talking. Both are 'onion books' with layer after layer of meaning. I read The Last Child in 6 hours. Couldn't put it down-except to snort and blow.

So there you have it. My malaise has been good for something. I've bested Harriet for the time being(Victory!) and given you four great titles to go look for just in time to hit the beach this summer! I'm returning them all to the library now so get your name on the list...and tell Harriet I said 'Hello'!


Lisa/knitnzu said...

Around here it's Minerva (instead of linkCat, or Ursus if you're the state), and a real live librarian calls you up! Those Byrnes books look like fun.

Have I told you about my idea for the body parts museum/amusement park? One of the rides was to be the snot production factory, to be finished with a log style ride out on a mucousy sneeze.

dale-harriet said...

oy, knitnzu, puhleeeeze {grin} Yes, I too know HTALB, but I am still pining over Harry-the-Automated-Library-Voice. He and I had quite the thing going. I'm very glad some good came from your malaise, though - from my viewpoint, a few days of guilt-free reading eases a multitude of ills. We missed you at Last Saturday, but raised a glass (most of us had peach iced tea) to you!

Elizabeth said...

I get my library notifications on email, which I prefer to the phone voices. When I switched over, it was still Harry.

BTW, you can control the flow of holds by suspending some of them until you are ready for them. When you log into your library account, go to the holds pending and click the boxes of the ones you want to delay. Click Change Status. You keep your place in line and can reactivate when you're ready for it. I've found this very handy for movies, because they are a totally a "When it rains, it pours" kind of thing.

Terri Browne said...

Thanks for the recommendations! Soon I will dive into the 19 hours of the Harry Potter audio book that you (via HTALB) checked out for me. :) Hope you are feeling better soon!

YarnThrower said...

Ah, yes... I had suspected all along that it was a high-level south-central library conspiracy, and your post affirms this. The one I remember in particular is when I put books on hold for when I was going to the hospital to give birth the second time, and they came available while I was in the hospital, and there was no way I had time to read once I got they all ended up being sent back by my local library...

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