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A Detour and a Little Quote

The best laid plans of mice and men, etc etc. I went to the library today, eschewing my carefully planned out reading list for the year. I AM SORRY, but I saw The Iron Lady Saturday, and by gum I think I might see it again. Not because I thought it was an absolutely stellar bit of filmmaking (although it was quite good) but because I went into it knowing about Thatcher only what was provided by Billy Elliot the Musical (by the way, I hate Billy Elliot the Musical), and now I am reading a book about her and so I would see it again with a different perspective. Important.

Now, I want to quote something from this book — it's not politically polarizing in any way, so don't get all in a premature huff — but first I want to tell a story about the extreme determination evinced by one (me) at the Chicago Public Library around 1:30 p.m. today.

I saw this movie yesterday. I went home, looked up what books the library had on Thatcher, picked one, looked at Amazon reviews, and promptly entered the call number into my phone so I could go pick it up after church.

Feeling very smug/self-satisfied about the whole situation, while simultaneously ashamed for having the entirely unoriginal idea of checking out a book about a person whose biopic I'd just seen, I went up to the sixth floor of the Harold Washington branch of the library (this is the main branch — it takes up an entire city block and has escalators; I love the escalators), walked over to DA589.7, looked on the shelf, and behold, my book was not there. Somewhat flummoxed, I glanced at surrounding shelves. Sometimes idiots put books where they're not supposed to be. Or, speaking as a former library worker, very very tired shelvers do.

But no! There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters was NOT on the shelf, despite the catalogue proclaiming it to be. Losing no time, I strode purposefully to one of the nearby computers, looked up the book again and — A-HA! It had been returned December 20th. With recent staff cuts, and an already slow shelving process, this meant that it was most LIKELY on a shelving cart somewhere. I walked back and forth across the rather large floor, searching for the shelving carts, until finally! There they were, laid against the wall. But they were all BA, HL, or just D. No DA. A library employee (he had a plastic badge — this is how I could tell) passed me at least twice, making me feel like scanning the shelving carts was something of an illegal venture. But I would not be put off by this. No indeed!

In a last ditch attempt, I turned round, my eyes searching for some sign of DA. And then —! the shelves behind me! They were full of books to be placed on shelving carts! And there — THERE was DA. After a brief glance through, I could tell they weren't in numerical order, but there, second shelf down, was my precious book! I snatched it off the shelf and headed off before that suspicious employee came back around.

And now, this book sitting on my rather messy bed, I will here type up the slightly amusing quote that you had to wade through all that to get to:

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, above her father's grocery shop. Isaac Newton, too, was raised in Grantham, and in between, nothing of note happened there.

I LIKE THIS AUTHOR. I went into it with a somewhat pessimistic attitude, because she's described as a "journalist" and who likes or trusts journalists? AND she's an American, and you know what we're like. But no, her writing is fantastic, and she's obviously intelligent. I am mightily impressed.


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