Last week, I found an anthology on bad poetry in the library. Yes, a book on cringe-worthy poetry that for some odd reason managed to get published and had enough good reviews to warrant a second volume. I had fun reading excerpts of it to classmates and friends who were, in turn, flabbergasted at the poems. I took the chance to tell them of my many more serendipitous discoveries in the library, and they were amazed to find out that contrary to the general belief – that the library only contains non-fiction educational and reference books – our very own library actually has a lot of non-fiction works.
As students, it is understandable that we cannot see the humorous and enjoyable side of the library easily because we only go there to study, make reports, have group meetings and do research. We indeed don’t have all the time in the world to spend reading whodunits and suspense thrillers, but that doesn’t mean that we do not have any free time to freely read these novels for our enjoyment. As humans, we have the need to read to widen our vocabulary, and the more wide-read we become, the more open we are to the diverse ideas and views of the world. In that way, we do not allow our brains to rot in completely prejudiced ignorance.
You might say this: “If I were to go to the library just to read in order for time to pass, then what should I do? It’s mostly reference books in there.” Well, no. There are interesting non-fiction books in there; you just need to learn to look for them. For starters, the literary novels and anthologies are at the Literature section at the back (shelve number 800+); that’s where you can find most of the interesting literary works in the library. In fact, our library actually has quite the collection of suspense and mystery novels: Stephen King’s horror thrillers (one whole shelf full of it), Robert Ludlum’s suspense thrillers (I actually saw one hardbound with his signature in gold on the cover), Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot Mysteries, and many more. There are also many anthologies and collections of sci-fi works and short-stories amongst the shelves which feature George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Coraline, and Stardust, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, and Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
On the bookshelves marked with letters instead of numbers in the uncategorized section, you can find a vast array of jumbled books. It is where one can only be surprised while looking at the shelves to find some unexpected novels. In one area, we’ll have Tolstoy right next to books on Religion; on another shelf there’s a Sartre novel in French. Beside it are some Star Trek novels, and in between these books are randomly inserted Harlequin and Silhouette romance novels. If you go to the third floor, it is also the same situation, but there are also a lot of fictional books there, just between the shelves.
So the next time you’re going through the library looking for a book for the day, think of it as a game: You are a time traveler looking for some fun. The library isn’t just for studying; it is the mind’s playground. We need it to relax and let loose from time to time. When we read, we become treasure hunters, thirsting for the treasure of knowledge; we become shamans, listening to long-dead poets and authors as they tell us their stories. We also grow as we learn from the experiences of the characters, the same ways we grow from learning from our own.
It’s All in the Wordplay