If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

So, I was on the Cuyahoga County Public Library's site the other day to add some things to my request list, and I was distracted by this announcement on the home page:

I'm not as hard-core as my mom when it comes to the type of materials the library should make available* but having it resort to touting TV on DVD did make me laugh. I realized that books are listed as a suggestion, but the spoonful of sugar making the medicine go down is that they are "in the spirit of" TV shows. Wow.

Of course, last week Brian was telling me how he gets at least two people a week coming in and asking where them books on wrasslin' is, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. And it's not like I haven't been Netflixing a bunch of TV shows on DVD, but I'm also plowing through a fairly tall stack of library books. For example: Over the weekend I read Time Won't Let Me by Bill Scheft. He draws on his brother's experiences for the basic setting of this novel about prep schoolers in the 1960s who start their own garage-rock band.

I liked it a lot — I also enjoyed his first novel, The Ringer — but I wish it had come with a companion CD. He name-checks a lot of bands and songs from the time period, and while I know the more popular ones (like the songs he directly quotes: "Time Won't Let Me," "We Gotta Get Outta This Place," and "Secret Agent Man") there are a few songs that I don't think I've ever heard (or heard of) before (like "Diddy Wah Diddy" by Barry and the Remains or the Shadows of Knight cover of "Gloria" that he deems "more accessible" than the insane Van Morrison/Them original**).

Although, over Christmas vacation I read Swing by Rupert Holmes*** which does comes with a companion CD, and I forgot to listen to it. The main character is a musician/arranger, and the CD has songs composed by Holmes that match up with songs mentioned in the story. However, the author's introductory note about the CD said that you probably wouldn't figure out the mystery any sooner if you listened to the songs, and I took his word for it.

Last week I also read the John Ceepak mysteries by Chris Grabenstein (Tilt a Whirl / Mad Mouse / Whack a Mole). These use a lot of Bruce Springsteen lyrics — which makes sense, since they're about cops in a resort town on the Jersey Shore. I'm not a big Springsteen fan, but I do have the three-CD live box set, so I dug that out and played it while I was reading. I don't know that it had a positive effect, because I mostly thought "Meh, this song is okay, I guess" or "Eek! Where's the fast-forward button?" because I haaaaaate "Born in the U.S.A."

A recent read that is soundtrack-less: The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. The main character comes to a crossroads: To cheat or not to cheat? It's a bit like one of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books: Alternating chapters detail what happens if she does and if she doesn't, making this novel twice as long as it would ordinarily be. I found one of the paths much more interesting, and skipped some of the chapters about the other choice. I kind of predicted one of the endings about halfway through, and it's nice to be right. It's also interesting to see how the author presents the same situation in each narrative, sometimes giving the same line of dialogue to different characters. It would probably make a good movie . . .

Oh, wait: I think they already made it: Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah.**** Hmm. Maybe I should have borrowed that from the library instead of the book.

* She's against anything that is not a printed book or magazine: no audio books, no music CDs, no e-books, no videos in any format . . . but that's because she only wants printed books or magazines. When I was down there at Christmas, she was super-ticked because she wanted to read some things by Joy Davidman (wife of C. S. Lewis) and the Akron-Summit County Public Library didn't have any of her work. Nevermind that most of these books are in the neighborhood of fifty years old and probably don't have high rates of circulation . . . I did find what she wanted in the Cleveland Public Library, so I can check those out on my card and bring them to her, or she can have someone at her local branch request them via interlibrary loan.

** That one, I've heard.

*** That's right: The guy who brought you "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)."

**** Or, as I like to think of him, the hot guy from Four Weddings and a Funeral not named Hugh Grant.

1 comment:

  1. Heh. This is part of a huge discussion in almost all of my classes. Your mom would hate me because I'm all for the library digitizing and also for the rebranding of public libraries as public information centers.