The first VPL branch I visited for the purposes of this blog was Collingwood Branch at Kingsway & Rupert. Having a reason to travel to the far reaches of Vancouver to visit these library branches is a bit of a trick, but in this case I had offered to do a favor for a friend that required me to be only a few blocks from this library. Unlike some of the other VPL branches, this building stands out. Trust me if you ever decide to visit, you won’t miss it.
The stars in the window are part of the Summer Reading Club which has the theme this year of Up, Up and Away. Each star had the name of a child who had joined the Summer Reading Club on it. This celebration of the program seems to be unique to this library. I have noticed information on the program at other VPL branches now, but nothing like the stars in the window. In fact as I was there, I listened to a librarian set up a child with his first library card and help him join the Summer Reading Club program. On a side note, I saw three different staff members in action and interacted with two of them myself while I was there and all of them were extremely nice and helpful, which is not always the case.
I ended up with quite a haul from this library and can see that is going to be an ongoing issue in engaging in this project. I am quickly accumulating more books and dvds than I can possibly get through in any reasonable amount of time. I did find the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, and as I had recently borrowed but not yet watched the 1973 adaptation, I decided to go on a Jane Eyre spree. The whole story is rather creepy (coming from the Gothic literary tradition and all, that’s not exactly a groundbreaking statement), but many people prefer their Jane Eyre adaptations to smooth over as much of the creepiness and problematic nature of the story as possible or at least to romanticize it as much as possible. Me, I actually prefer versions that bring out all the weirdness and nastiness and general Gothic craziness of the story. I don’t particularly want to like or enjoy the romance of the main characters. That said …
The 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre is a movie of two hours and thus ends up necessarily paring down the story to its bare bones. It does some interesting things with the timeline which I think mostly works quite well and probably is a great idea for how to arrange and manage the lengthy story in that kind of shortened time frame. The tone and lighting of the movie are well done, enhancing the dark drama of the story, and overall it is beautifully shot. However, while I do not want to be in any way swept off my feet by the romance, I at least want to believe that these two characters feel themselves to be in love and for some kind of believable reason or through some kind of clear set of actions and interactions. I’m afraid I did not feel it at all - which kind of makes the overall movie fall flat for me.
But back at the library branch … the funniest thing I saw there was six copies of Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac scattered about in the adult paperback collection, though only five are in the picture because I found the sixth one later. I did artificially collect them altogether in one place - and I left them that way too so maybe a staff member will notice. (And to me as a funny thing this even beat out my discovery of the book “A Shore Thing“ by Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi. Is there really an audience for that thing? I mean are people who watch Jersey Shore also generally novel readers? I’m sure some of the audience is, but I doubt those that are would also be inclined to mix together their two disparate levels of cultural consumption).
These adult paperback collections are not given titles in the cataloguing system, and I would not be the least bit surprised if they were in no way tied to any particular branch but simply kept at whatever branch they were returned to (I think I’d better ask this question at a future branch and report back to you). They are a browsing collection designed for quickly finding a copy of any old commonly read/popular title and in the less sturdy but more comfortable for recreational reading paperback format as opposed to the traditional library hardback. But how one branch ends up with six copies of Cousin Bette of all things, I have no idea. Of course this necessitated that I check out a copy and read it. I naturally chose the one incorrectly labeled with “D” on the spine instead of “B.” I have not read it yet, but will report back to you once I do.
Finally, I rounded this adventure out with a stop on the way home to purchase one of the most important and vital inventions of the modern world:
You may find that, where Matthew made everything about comics, I make everything about ice cream. Even libraries.