One day last month I missed the bus home by about 30 seconds on a bitterly cold day. I was hungry and freezing and the next bus wouldn’t come for another half hour. Poor, poor pitiful me.

I went across the street to the public library. It’s nothing like the fabulous Allen County facility, but they try to keep up with new fiction. They have a “browsing” collection, which seems to consist of one copy of sought-after new releases, with the rest put in the reserve queue. I walked right up to the browsing shelf, and there it was: A gleaming, virginal copy of Elmore Leonard’s new one, “Mr. Paradise,” only days after it arrived at Borders. Can a day turn lucky on the fortunate acquisition of a mystery novel? When it’s Elmore Leonard? Yes.

So I snatched it up, and it did not disappoint. I’ve kept it the whole term of the lending period, if only to reread his great dialogue scenes, hoping some of the magic will rub off on my own misbegotten efforts. Of course, I have selected some favorites; his best work is literary jazz.

Then yesterday I heard the master Himself on NPR, and he read a passage. My favorite one!

Posted at 10:38 am in Uncategorized |

5 responses to “Recommendations.”

  1. Connie said on February 9, 2004 at 11:20 pm

    You know the Ann Arbor Public Library won the national library of the year award a few years ago. Featured on the cover of Library Journal, very big deal. Kalamazoo has also won it more recently. Connie

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  2. Pam said on February 10, 2004 at 8:17 am

    I’m 4th in the queue for Mr. Paradise at the Westerville Library. They only have one copy in circulation also. But I also wanted to re-read One Hundred Years of Solitude (since it’s on Oprah’s list, she’s my new 4:00 pm friend). Can you imagine they don’t have even one copy!! They are ordering 3 copies and I will get one as soon as they arrive. I loaned my copy to a friend at work who didn’t return it. He was taking a class “Literature for Geeks Who Bit Twiddle All Day and Never Read but Should”. The class was the school’s idea, not his. He didn’t like the book.

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  3. Connie said on February 10, 2004 at 9:24 am

    The Elkhart Public Library has 7 copies of “Mr. Paradise” for our six locations. All are checked out and there are 3 names on the reserve list. Most public libraries use the capacity of their circ/cat computer system to issue purchase alerts, based on numbers specified by that library. My library uses 1 in 3. If we don’t have one copy for every three holds a notice is issued to the appropriate staff person. Our book budget has a separate line item in it just for the purchase of these. I think it is $90,000 this year, although that also pays for our automatic shipment of every new book published by our designated authors. 7 copies for every new Elmore Leonard. 28 copies for every new Danielle Steele, John Grisham, etc.

    Westerville Ohio? Only one copy? Westerville Ohio is one of those “famous” libraries that supposedly has amazing customer service, so your comment surprises me. Of course with all the funding issues the Ohio legislature has recently visited upon the state’s public libraries, who knows.


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  4. Pam said on February 10, 2004 at 6:51 pm

    Slight correction — according to their database, Westerville has one regular copy of Mr. Paradise and one audio book. But I wasn’t in the mood to have it read to me. Westerville does have a really nice library considering the size of the city. There are a lot of librarians around to help you out. And they have a Starbucks but the local rag said that although Starbucks is popular, it’s in the red. Evidently, everyone loves to smell the coffee but not purchase it.

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  5. Nance said on February 10, 2004 at 8:27 pm

    Don’t mean to dis the AADL. They do have some interesting features, including a sort of lending-library hybrid for hot best-sellers — you get the book when you want it, but you pay a small fee for it and agree to a shorter lending period. They do a good job keeping up with what people want to read, so you can read “Mr. Paradise” for, say, $5, and you only keep it a week, rather than four.

    But the ACPL, well. It’s the only thing about Fort Wayne that I really, truly miss.

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