Wednesday, December 08, 2010

As the world comes into its proper alignment!

Just one of those funny little moments....

Probably the thing I find hardest about being in Cayman is lack of near-instantaneous access to the wonderful Columbia library system. After twenty-plus years of having this kind of access at one library or another, I take it almost for granted; I am always running over in the hour before the library closes to grab an armful of books from the stacks.

This morning it suddenly came to me that Julius Chambers's journalistic expose of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum was the book I most wanted to get my hands on in all the world (at least vis-a-vis immediate research imperatives of TBOMS). I grumpily inveighed to myself against Google Books when it seemed that I couldn't get it there, regretted that there wasn't an electronic version in the Columbia Library catalog, was about to pay good dollars for an electronic copy elsewhere and then, magically, realized that I could get a scanned PDF copy of Chambers' A Mad World and Its Inhabitants for free at Kobo Books. I have now transferred it to my Kindle for easy reading in a reclining position, as the early stages of novel-writing always make me feel that I would be able to concentrate better if I were lying down with my eyes closed.

Yes, this search and acquisition process can be much streamlined - really I want to be able to do everything through the library homepage and/or Google and Amazon, I need a simplified interface and a real catalog that will integrate different sources into a single e-book source, but it is still very good, this is the world I thought I should be living in when I was a child in the 1970s dependent on others for physical access to libraries and with that terrible sense of literary scarcity best summed up in these lovely and painful words of Randall Jarrell's!

(Haven't yet written the day's quota, unfortunately - got diverted onto the more enjoyable and easy task of doing research. But it must be eked out before the hour of midnight, that is the rule....)

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