Friday, 4 April 2008

The Peripatetic Book

Despite the ‘wealth of information’ online, I continually skulk about a couple of branches of the municipal library searching for reading material. However, I find it easier to access the collection online from home to place holds on tomes whose titles I’ve gleaned off websites or my feeds. Requesting ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child’ – already in cold storage – was to follow up on the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. The e-mail notification showed up a couple of days later. On the same evening I entered a second request for an item currently in the branch so it was a lock to be there the following day when I could pick up both books. So I was mildly surprised the next morning when the Julia Child cookbook was sitting on the shelf awaiting me, but the second volume was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps, I surmised, it was still early and maybe no one had yet had a chance to pull it from its assigned spot. No problem. Headed over to the library computers where I quickly located the call number and hustled over to the correct aisle. No luck. Aha, I reasoned, it was simply in between shelves and one of the staff was busy logging it through the system. After all, the computer said it was there and it is difficult to argue with a computer. Therefore, I concluded, I should talk to the kindly librarian who would clear up the matter in a flash. Not so. Not only did she have the request print out in front of her, but she had checked for the book to discover it was....well missing, even though it had been returned to the library the previous day and scanned in via computer. Obviously, since it had never been returned to its allotted location, there was no opportunity for some dastardly, light-fingered bookworm to purloin the text, so logically it had to be somewhere in the vicinity. So I headed back to see if it had been misplaced close to its supposed resting place, while the librarian did a check of the behind counter spots and non public areas. Success, I anticipated, would shortly see me with both of my holds and heading out the door. Wrong again. Back at the information desk, I found a very puzzled librarian who had not only been unable to locate my book, but had discovered another four missing volumes. Not much rationale in requesting an explanation and we agreed I could wait while another copy was forwarded in from another branch. Maybe library books eventually tire of the constant pawing, page pinching, spine bashing and coffee dribbling; at which point they sprout little legs and run off to the old book home? Lucky for me, my missing choice was not critical to my well being and only a follow up to my interest in meditation, since I’ve found it an excellent method to corral my brain after running off simultaneously in multiple directions. So it was interesting to discover Jon Kabat-Zinn had contributed to ‘Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)’ which was described as 80% meditation and 20% cognitive therapy towards the alleviating the effects of chronic depression. Only one of the texts on the subject - ‘The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness’ – but the particular one I located online and which caught my interest. Apparently, in Britain the costs are covered under National Health Care which may explain its popularity and wide spread referral by general practitioners. As for me, I was left to wonder if the universe in its infinite wisdom had conjured up an esoteric message disguised as a personal Zen koan for me to solve – ‘What is the sound of no page turning?’

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