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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Mission Begins: Bookcase 1

Today I went to Dorking library and the saw the scale of that task the I have committed myself to! There were a total of - I think - 141 bookcases in the adult library, excluding temporary bookcases to hold books that people have just returned. (The actual total might be slightly different in case I missed any out or double counted some, but it's broadly accurate I think). Given that I read around 70 books a year that means it is going to take me at least 2 years to get around the library, and maybe a bit longer if I read books other than printed library books. That's not a problem though, hopefully both I and the library will survive in our current guises for another couple of years at least!

I then chose my first book from the nearest shelf to the door. This is actually a fairly nondescript unnamed shelf containing around 30 books and which is a kind of over-spill for the Crime and Thrillers section which is where I am starting.

I hadn't read any of the 30 books on Bookcase 1, and the only one of the authors I had read before was Ruth Rendell. So that meant I had nearly the full selection to choose from. After some deliberation the book, shown below, that I picked was by Caro Fraser.

I confess that I have never heard of the author, and I gather this is one of a series of books (I'd rather start at the beginning but it's never obligatory and it won't be the first time that I have read a book out of sequence). Caro Fraser is British and she's a woman, which ticks two boxes for me. Generally I prefer books by women to those by men, because the characterisation I finds tends to be better with female authors Men are inclined to write more pacy action-packed thrillers and the characters are more sterotyped than with their female counterparts in my experience, although it's certainly not a hard and fast rule. But I prefer slower, more thoughtful books, and women tend to deliver these more consistently than men. That said, I have probably over 50 fiction books to read on my tour of the library so I'll make sure I get my fair selection of authors by both genders.

If I don't like this book I shall have to return it to the bookcase and select another of the 29 books on it, plus or minus of course a few that have been returned or borrowed since I was last there. The library is an ever-changing beast.

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