There's nothing that quite compares to the excitement of finding, out of the blue, amid the stacks and stacks of unreadable , over-dramatic, or just plain boring drivel, a book that makes you giddy with excitement just to hold it in your possession. I've always been a reader, and even more so, a lover of fiction. It's in my bones. It's part of the person I am, and I'm sure I wouldn't be who I am today without the passion for reading that runs through my veins.
The little girl who tucked herself under her covers with a flashlight to read late at night, or hid herself away in the linen closet under the staircase with the naked bulb burning above her head so she could lose herself in a book, either way with a trusty grey and white alley cat named Whiskers close by -- well that has given way to a young woman who still only needs merely a quite place, a little lighting, and preferably a dozing cat nearby to make her happy, so long as there's a good book clutched in her hands.
It's become a bit of a game to me, during the past two years that I've worked in an office across from a grand and voluminous public library. It doesn't work so well in the upstairs fiction department, as the never ending stacks it boasts make it difficult to choose wisely, but downstairs, in the "new fiction" department, it only takes patience and the better part of a lunch hour to find the perfect new book to read.
Starting with the title, or really the font of the title, then the title itself, I'll pluck a book from the shelf, and judge it based solely on the cover art. Yes, I literally judge a book by its cover, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. If there's a drawing of a ethereal girl with a tribal tattoo up her naked back, or something along those lines*, chances are I'm not going to like the book. Back it goes on the shelf, and I move on to another one. Some days I get lucky, other days I'm *this close* to asking a fellow patron, who looks just as lost to me, if he/she would just pick a book out that s/he likes for me, and I'll do the same for her/him.
*I couldn't think of any other illustration that would turn me off, other than it having a picture of someone standing on an escalator instead of walking up it (hate) or kicking a puppy or something like that.
Anyway, once it passes the cover test, I read the inside cover, and can usually tell within the first few sentences whether or not it'll come home with me. I've found many greatly loved books this way, and have only been wrong about my choice two or three times in the couple years I've been doing this. I find it introduces me to a lot of new fiction that I would have otherwise missed.
I found just such a prized work of fiction this way only yesterday. When I got home from work, the sun just beginning to set and the sound of the Hollywood freeway filtering through my apartment, I cracked the book open and lounged on my couch. Within the first few pages I was hooked, and I ventured onto the rooftop of my building to sip a glass of whiskey while I read and watched the city bask in the last few minutes of daylight.
I happily read, the words flirting through my brain in the same warm way the whiskey did in my stomach, while the cool evening air danced through my hair.
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" - Kurt Vonnegut