Inspired by Libraries

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Thursday’s Children Blog Hop

This week, my 12-year-old son told me he needed to go to the library to pick out a non-fiction book for a report. He said, “It has to be a REAL book, not kids’ book with a ton of pictures.” That meant we had to venture into the adult non-fiction section.

This is kind of a slippery slope for me. Whenever I innocently ‘browse’ the non-fiction section, I get sucked in. There are way too many cool topics I want to read about. I could spend hours hopping around the stacks, checking out various titles and getting inspiration for my writing.

After we spent a little while browsing (mostly in the areas of science and current events), my son’s stack of ‘maybes’ included books on the following topics:

  • A “body farm,” where scientists study forensics by observing how dead bodies decompose naturally.
  • The fight against deadly diseases like West Nile Virus and Ebola, based on first person accounts from the CDC.
  • The looming fresh water crisis that America will face in the 21st century
  • A study on how brain synapses create and maintain personality
  • An historical study of the evolution of poisons and the development of forensic science in early 20th century New York.

7054123My son decided to choose the deadly disease book, but I checked the rest out. I figure I’ll look through them over the next few weeks, jotting down any ideas for future stories. I already started the last one on the list (The Poisoner’s Handbook) and it’s proving to be a great read.

I know the Internet is a helpful tool for research, but, to me, nothing beats spending an hour in the library and ‘discovering’ books. The best part is, I can take a huge pile of them home for a month, at no cost.

I’ve used the library for lots of other resources as well: illustrated books of fairy tales, audiobooks for road trips, DVDs, CDs, and writing magazines. When my kids were little, we went to the library on a regular basis, especially on cold winter days. The kids would pick out a huge stack of picture books and we’d curl up in a cozy chair and read the stories out loud.

 What’s your favorite thing about the library? 

If you’d like to join the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, or see what’s inspiring everyone else, click here to enter your link and view the list of blogs.

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11 Responses to Inspired by Libraries

  1. Cool books! It’s true for me too, that non-fic often plays a pretty big role in terms of inspiring my work. Off the top of my head that would include the book “Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki” and the U of VA online Salem witchcraft papers (transcribed from original 17th century documents).

  2. Oooooh, I ADORE the library! We go once a week, and generally have a stack of pre-orders to pick up, and then my girls get to browse and pick 2 books each. We speak (and read) Spanish at home, so it’s essential for us to pick up some books in English for the culture as well as language. It’s incredible how many books there are about the first day of Kindergarten! We are currently devouring as many as we can get. 🙂

  3. My kids love the library. We go every other week, and they talk me into more books each time. Plus it allows me to read way more YA/MG books than I would if I had to buy them all. I don’t often just browse through the books, but now maybe I will, particularly if I’m looking for a story idea. If you write something that involves poison, I want to read it!

    • casacullen says:

      I love taking YA & MG books out of the library – and since the librarians know I have kids, they don’t realize that half the time those books are for ME!

  4. Alana Terry says:

    I love our library too. I can’t imagine life without it. It has enriched our lives so much, especially my boys. I can’t imagine trying to raise and teach them without the library right around the corner!

  5. Mia Celeste says:

    Oh, I think I want to get this book. I just finished a book on corpses called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. It was funnier than you’d think–the author is intrepid and witty. I was surprised how much I laughed as I learned lots of creepy, morbid stuff.

    http://www.miaceleste.com/?p=298

  6. casacullen says:

    So far, this book is fascinating! Lots of cool info about poisons, plus the crooked politics of early 20th century NYC.

  7. This may sound silly, but I’ve gotten so used to buying my books for Kindle. Now that I work in a place that I can’t have an electronic device with me, I started to buy physical books again. I was trying to avoid this since I don’t have a lot of space to store them, and I usually don’t read books more than once. My boyfriend and I were puzzled over what to do, saying “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where you could swap books for free so you didn’t have to keep buying them?” No word of a lie. We actually said this to each other. It was several minutes before the idea of an actual LIBRARY occurred to us (Slaps own forehead). It is now my new favourite (rediscovered) place 🙂

  8. Pat Esden says:

    I’m like this with museums. Well, a trip to a museum usual leads me to research at the library and then to buy books too. Sucked in is the right word for it 😉

  9. Dannie Morin says:

    It is shameful how long it has been since I actually went to a library. After reading this I definitely need to get back. Good post, Carla!

    Dannie @ Left to Write

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