Book pusher

I realized something tonight. I’m a book pusher. Instead of doling uppers or downers or herbals out of plastic baggies, I give people books.

“Oh, you’re going through that, or into this, or taking a trip there? Here’s _____. You absolutely have to read this right now because it’s fabulous and will change your life.”

I went home feeling awful Friday afternoon and was thankful to wake up to a rainy evening to stay home and read “The Borrower,” by Rebecca Makkai.

If Makkai isn’t the same kind of pusher I am (and she has to be, given all of the literary references), then the book’s narrator most certainly is. Lucy, a librarian in Hannibal, Mo. grew up in Chicago, reading the children’s lit I read. (I loved “The Egypt Game.”) I imagine Lucy the librarian was in “Battle of the Books” as a kid. “The Borrower” centers around a sort of kidnapping of her precocious patron, and it’s a story of fleeing and identity and the experiences (real and literary) that shape us.

I remember the first day I got my library card — how I stood proudly to have my picture taken under the fake tree on the children’s floor. I remember learning to read before kindergarten, and going to the library most days after school, and how cool I felt to be invited in the back desk area of the librarians on weekends when my family would stop in. I helped out putting on puppet shows, and in eighth grade wrote a seriously depressing novella that was hardbound and able to be checked out. I think I saw more of the library’s pet gerbils than my own peers. (File under: Reasons Brianne is kind of strange.) There were no good hilly wooded parks in Lisle, so I will confess that the library parking lot was a very PG-rated alternative to “inspiration point” in high school. The fact that the parking lot bordered the priests’ house kept things in check. Ha!

I never go back to the library when I’m home visiting my family, because I think it would be the hardest to realize how small it really is. I like to keep it exactly as I remember it from growing up. And, truthfully, if I were to go in one day and not have all of the librarians know me by name, and invite me back into their secret staff area, I might actually cry.

If you, too, considered the library a second-home and perhaps used to amuse yourself creating book checkout systems in your room by yourself as a kid, you should definitely read it. Then tell me if it also made you want to listen to Regina Spektor again for the first time in awhile.


Filed under Books

2 responses to “Book pusher

  1. ChristaGurl

    You’re the best dealer I’ve ever had! I loved The History of Love and I am looking for something new. The Borrower may just calm my craving.

  2. paytonsworldwide

    You’re the best dealer I’ve ever had! The History of Love was amazing, and I’m looking for something new to clam my craving. The Borrower may be my next literary adventure!

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