“What Do You Like to Read?”

One neat thing about libraries is that you can put books on hold. That way, when the book you want to read is either processed or returned by another patron, it will automatically go to you if you’re next in line. The same thing happens when you request a book from another library. It comes in, gets checked in, and goes on hold for you. And you can do it for multiple items at a time. This is something I do a lot.

And sometimes it backfires.

Working at the library, I usually have a pretty good idea of what items we might acquire. It’s a small library, so we don’t get everything. We just don’t have the space or budget. If there’s something I want to read and I don’t think we’ll get it, I try to put myself on hold for it as soon as possible. Different libraries have different rules about lending new items to other libraries. For example, my library doesn’t ship new items to other libraries for six weeks. But the sooner I get my name on the hold list, the higher I am in the queue, and the sooner I’ll get the book.

Not too long ago, I put three books on hold. They were all recent releases and I didn’t think my library was getting any of them. Given the hold queues, I thought the risk of getting more than one at once to be low.

Oh, how the library gods laughed.

The first book finally shipped. It was late in the week and I accurately guessed that it would probably be the middle of the next week when it arrived. That Monday I went into work to find a pile of books ready for processing. Among the two stacks were the other two books I’d put on hold because I thought my library wasn’t getting them. One was for immediate release. The other one didn’t officially come out until Tuesday. So, I took one book home Monday night, one book home Tuesday night, and the book that had been sent from another library arrived on Wednesday.

Now, the reason why I tell you this story is because I think the books I received all at once accurately cover my taste in books. Or at least the range of it.

The books?

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, a horror novel that is a love letter to the slasher movie

Personal Effects: What Recovering the Dead Teaches Me About Caring for the Living by Robert A. Jensen, a kind of memoir recounting the work the author does in recovering the bodies and personal items from victims of mass casualty events like plane crashes, bombings, and natural disasters.

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur, a queer romance that’s a sort of sequel to the book Written in the Stars, another queer romance.

I recommend them all, by the way.

But as you can see, I read random shit. Typically, it’s whatever catches my attention in that moment. Sometimes I get fixated on a subject or an author. Sometimes I decide to push myself outside of my comfort zone. If it’s about dead bodies and/or decomposition, it’s probably a must-read for me.

If you look at my Goodreads challenge, you’ll see this sort of behavior on a grander scale. So far this year, I’ve read five romances (something unheard of before I discovered that I DO like romance so long as it’s queer and/or fat), 5 books of poetry, 6 memoirs (including Danny Trejo’s because of course and one that I won in a Goodreads giveaway that I just thought looked interesting), two re-reads (one of which is a book from my teen years that I’ve never stopped thinking about and just by luck found it again), two plain ol’ fiction books, and 7 non-fiction books (topics include burlesque, socialism, toilets, and binding books in human skin).

At the library, we are often called upon to recommend items and some of my coworkers are known for their expertise in certain genres or subjects. For example, one of my coworkers is the go-to for fantasy. Another knows all of the mysteries. And we’ve been encouraged to create Goodreads accounts specifically related to the library based on our expertise so we can refer patrons.

I have not done this because I don’t have a specialty. I have random ass shit. Do you like to read whatever? I can help you with that. And the more random, the better.

Now, there are obviously some genres I like better than others and I’m more drawn to some non-fiction topics than others. I can be picky within some genres and game for anything in others. There’s not much I won’t read, or at least try.

Except Amish romance.

No Amish porn for me, thanks.

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