Sunday, January 2, 2011

Discussion: The Backup Book

I... a book pusher.  

There, I said it. It's true. I prey on children with their impressionable little minds. I prey on the desperate, frantically looking for their next great read. Fellow book bloggers beware, I've been slowly but surely pushing books on you, too. Your TBRs may be large, but I'm the little devil on your shoulder whispering "More! More!"

I'm the worst kind of pusher, because I am also a user. My own TBR is proof enough. It's an addiction, and if you've read my In My Mailbox posts, then you know the idea of recovery is a pipe dream. I have accepted this and have embraced my Book Hoarding Disease. Why take only one or two books when you can have ten or twenty?

When kids come into the library looking for a book, they sometimes ask me how many books they're allowed to take out. I can't help myself. A huge smile breaks out across my face and I reply, "As many as you can carry!" Then I gleefully offer them library tote bags so they can increase their load.

I justify this by my job. As a librarian, isn't it my sworn duty to encourage the joy of reading? And who better to encourage than children and teens just discovering the wonderful world of books?

But I have encountered an obstacle I could have never predicted. I have a nemesis, and you wouldn't believe who they are. Are you ready for this? It's...

The Parents. 

Yes, I know, you're shocked. I am too. Aren't parents supposed to want their kids to read? Don't they go to PTA meetings and engage in "My kid read more books over the summer than your kid, for fun!" bragging contests? I'm sure I've seen a bumper sticker along these lines.

So what's up with all these parents coming into my library and telling their kids to pick one book only? Come on parents, what gives? Do they not see the joyous smiles on the faces of their precious children melt away at the utterance of this terrible phrase?

Do they not care for the perplexing dilemma they have unceremoniously dumped at the feet of their children as they stare down at the collection of books they have lovingly scoured the shelves to create? Put all but one back? Are they mad??

Oh parents, why? Whhyy?? You are breaking my librarian heart. I have to bite my tongue and take deep calming breaths. You see, not only do I feel it is my sworn duty to ensure these kids discover the wondrous joys of reading, but I am also a firm believer in The Backup Book.

Here is a piece of wisdom I've picked up along the way:

One is none, two is one!

Don't get it? Let me tell you a story. I'm sure you're all familiar with this story or one of its many incarnations. You go to the library and you pick up THE book. You can't believe it. You actually have, in your possession, THE book. You have lusted after this book for months. You have pinned all of your reading hopes and dreams on this book. You just know it will be amazing. The glorious day has come, and the book is finally yours! 

And then...


You're devastated. You don't want to read this book. You want to chuck it across the room and purge from your memory the few lines you allowed to pollute your eyes. Ever see a baby eat something they don't like? That look of "EWW ACK YEE GADS GET IT OUT!" Yeah, that's what you're feeling. But guess what? 

The library is closed. 

Now what? 

This, my friends, is why The Backup Book is so very important. Without The Backup Book, you could be left stranded with nothing to read. Do these parents know they may be dooming their children to the worst possible situation on the planet? And for what? To avoid a few pesky little library fines? (And, come on, they totally know I'll cut their fines in half and backdate their returns for them so the computer "thinks" they returned it two days before they actually did). Is not the eternal happiness of their child worth this small and not-necessarily-inevitable price? For shame, Parents, for shame! 

Have any of you encountered these perplexing parents? ARE any of you these types of parents? (and, if so, then I'm totally sorry if I've offended you, but, seriously, what's up with that?) What about The Backup Book? Is anyone else out there with me in lugging around two books in their purse "Just in case"? 


  1. Hilarious post! Love the pictures! I've never seen this happen at a library, but I've seen it while I've been at Barnes and Noble a few times. Parents hover behind their kids, repeatedly telling them to make a decision, and it better be THE ONE book they definitely, 100% want. Then the kid usually has a tantrum or begs until they can choose more.

    Power to 'em, I say!

  2. LOL! The pictures you got to go along with this post are hilarious. I can't imagine why a parent would only allow a child to take out one book from the library at a time. I mean, aren't they free books? Can't you renew them in most cases if you need more time?
    I usually never have a need for a backup book because it's really hard for me to put a book down part way through. Even if I hate it, I feel I need to finish it.

  3. LOL, love this post! So true, one book is never enough and sometimes the one you've had your hopes set on just does not live up to expectations. You get extra points for including a LOTR pic :D

    And I don't get that kind of 'one book only' parent outlook. When I was a kid we took home HUGE stacks of books, so many that they ended up filling boxes up to overflowing! Reaching the 50-book limit on the library card was a common occurrence in our family :D

  4. Haha Loved reading this!
    I am book pusher and a hoarder too! :)

  5. Alissa, Thanks! It took forever to find just the right pictures, so I'm glad you like them! I guess I can understand it a little more at a book store, but still. I wouldn't be in the habit of rewarding tantrums, but if my (non-existent) kid ever threw a tantrum because they wanted more books, well, that kid would get more books! Though It would of course never come to that.

    Aylee, Glad you liked it :) I know, right?! They're free and you can totally renew them! I don't understand it at all. I used to be like that with never putting a book down unfinished, but now I drop them, something witty you drop easily. I DNF-ed 34 books last year.

    Danya, :D I'm so glad you understand me here. My family is like yours. I remember always coming home with huge stacks of books (and I still do).

    Misha, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Ah, I am in good company here :)

  6. Awesome pictures, and the post was AHMAZING! I was laughing through the entire thing! You did really good with this one. I'm about to let my mom read it. I'm sure she will crack up as well. And no, I've never really happened upon that, and, unfortunately, I haven't been to my library in years. Yeah, I know right? It sucks. A lot.

    LOL, anyway, happy new year!,

  7. Loved the comic picture! (as so did many others it seems!) I understand what you mean, but I think it's sweet how you will overlook the fines or due dates at times for the kids!

    My parents definitely encourage me to check out as many books as possible though! When I was little we would go to the library ALL THE TIME! We would check out piles of books, and max out all of our library cards so we could take all of the books we desired home. Hahaha, well that's my family for you!

  8. HAHAHAH! I swear I make that EXACT face when my library is closed.

    I loved this post. You are my new favorite person.

    And YES! I tend to have a back up book with me just in case all the time! And I always take out as many books as I can carry when I hit the library!

  9. This was an awesome post - and I loved your pictures. Now, let me scream something:


    Libraries in my country suck (sorry but it's the truth, you need to practically swear in blood to get a library card, and it's almost a miracle to find something published after 1970, don't even bother trying to find fiction), so naturally, I'm a book buyer and book hoarder as well.

    And I seldom carry just one book in my bag. Why? because sometimes I'm not in the mood for the particular book I'm reading (It doesn't even have to be a bad book, sometimes I just get the itch to read something different), so I always carry a back up so I can alternate books, so to speak.

    As for why a parent would say "Just One Book" - save the fact that these are hard financial times and maybe someone really can't afford fines, I'll tell you what my mom told me my whole life: "Don't read, study."

    She was always obsessed with the "living up to your potential" stuff, and she basically doesn't think reading for leisure is very productive, but for me reading is one of the those few things that make me feel really alive *g*

    Sorry for the super long post :)

  10. FANTASTIC article and love the pictures! Definitely agree that everyone needs a back up book.

  11. What a fabulous post! I am a book pusher too. My classroom is filled with all the books I read and when I bring the latest one in I have to talk about it so someone will take it home and eat it up.

    As to the parent dilemma. I have even had parents whine that their child reads too much, or that 20 minutes of reading a night is too much (use to be 30). So as a teacher this post strikes home.

  12. Great post! I agree a back up book is necessary. I generally keep one in the glove box of the car and one or two in my handbag. You can never have too many books :)

  13. lol great post. I used to love going to the library, but I'd always have fees to pay :S I love the fact you're a book pusher. I need someone like that lol I never know what to read!! I keep panicking because if I finish my TBR pile I'd stop reading! I don't need that happening!

  14. I love this post and the hilarious pictures make it all the better! I completely agree, if a young child is interested in/excited about reading and finds lots of books they want to take out then it makes sense to encourage them. After all, many parents struggle to get them reading for fun. I know I wouldn't be happy if my parents said I could only take out one. Although lucily that's not the case and it's the trips to the many library from before I could even read that instilled in me my love of reading.
    I'm very suprised that you're allowed to take out 50 books Danya because n my local library here in the UK the max amount of books we can take out is much less than 50. More like under 10 or less!

    Thanks for your comment on my Christmas book post. Yes, you can tell I love historical fiction :)

  15. This post rocks!

    It's funny that actually me parents are like that. When i get many books are getting crazy. I had to really try to convince them buy me books for Christmas!

    And thanks god, our huge TBR! I love to have many books, just in case the one i read sucks. It's exactly what you said. The Backup Book is important!

  16. LOL fabulous post!

    My son is 4 and already has a bookcase bowing under the pressure of a couple of hundred books. I must admit that I don't take him to the library .. ours isn't much good tbh, but I buy him a couple each week. He's not that keen on trying to read them himself ... yet ... but I'm sure he will in another couple of years. At the moment, bedtime story, or whatever time of day he fancies a story is his favourite time of day :)

  17. Too funny! I like your reasoning behind the backup book, it's definitely necessary to have one. Or 5. Just saying:)

  18. Great post! I'm a school librarian, so parents don't ususally enter the mix, but the other huge problem that I've encountered is crabby librarians - don't talk about books, stay in your seat, you can ONLY have one book, I could go on and on, but I feel these elementary librarians need to think about the lasting impressions that these student will have when they hear the word "library."

  19. Omg omg omg!! Where have you been all my life?? HA! You've seen my mailbox - I buy way too many books a week, and my TBR grows incessently.
    I, too, am the little devil...the madwoman yelling, "READ MORE!!!"
    I'm always shoving books into my sisters' hands; I probe them until they tell me exactly where they are in the story...and then ask them the same question later that day. "Sierraaaaa...." they say. But what can I do?
    I'm known in our church as "the person to go to if you need a good book", so I'm often asked the "what should I read?" question. And then I have so many good choices for that specific person that I end up making them choose from like 10 books... :/ my bad.
    I've often considered becoming a librarian - it's a title I've often looked upon as a proud and glorious title. Yesterday at the bookstore (different, but kinda the same), a 13-year-old girl, on hearing that I have a book blog, asked me to help her find a good book. When I introduced the book she'd been wanting to read for months, she thanked me with flourish and hugged me.
    Best moment all week, lemme tell you. But I'm sure you know how I feel... ;)
    Excellent post, btw! Made me laugh out loud... Fantastic writing. Great pictures. Good, vital point. Need I say more? :)

  20. I'm just going to say: I love this post. It screams awesome. Just so you know. :)

    As a new teacher I've found the same thing, parents just aren't that concerned with reading. It's not a priority. They don't see the importance.

  21. Zakiya, Thank you! Haha, I hope your mom likes it too!

    T. B., we overlook fines for everyone. :) The library should be a happy place! See, your family knows how to do it! I don’t know what’s up with these parents!?

    Lazy Girl, Haha, me too! Aw, thank you! Yes! You understand! Ah, I love book people.

    AnimeGirl, YES IT TOTALLY IS!! Scream it from the rooftops! :P You poor girl. I’m so sorry to hear about your libraries. I feel for you. Haha, yes, mood fluctuations! I can understand the draw to an e-reader, but then I wouldn’t have all these awesome arm muscles from carrying around a bunch of books everywhere. :P

    Yes, that’s true about financial times. Thanks for the insight too about “Don’t read, study.” I hadn’t thought of that. What a shame! You don’t have to apologize for a long post. The longer the better!

    YA Yeah Yeah, Thank you! I’m loving this support for The Backup Book. :)

    Jan, Thank you! Haha, I know just the feeling. Oh gosh, complaining about reading for 20 minutes?!!? Aaah, my heart is breaking! Cue the slow motion NOOOOOOO.

    Nic, Thanks! Haha, I had books stashed all over my old car. I didn’t get a chance to put any in my new car yet, but the other day I regretted that. You really never know when you’ll be in need of a book!

    Steph, Thanks! I will totally push books on you! Any particular genre you’re looking for? You will never have to worry about running out of TBR books again. :P

  22. Stephanie, Thank you! Yes, thank you, we should be encouraging reading!

    Yiota, Haha thanks! Oh no, poor you! At least it looks like you are still able to get your hands on a bunch of good books. Yay for more Backup Book support!

    The Slowest Bookworm, Thank you! Yes!! Overflowing and sagging under book weight bookshelves is like a balm to my One Book wounds. You are a perfect parent. :D

    Jenny, Haha, yes, I think five sounds perfectly reasonable. You never know. What if you get stuck in an elevator for hours?

    Annette, Thank you! Oh gosh, yes, crabby librarians is a whole story unto itself! My library is, um, a little loud. There’s a lot of laughing and loud gushing going on.

    Yearning to Read, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Haha, I felt the same way when I saw your blog! You’re a little devil too? Oooh, we should go hop on people’s shoulders and so all they hear is, “more, more” from the right side and then “More More!” from the left! Hehehehe. Oh yes, I know just what you mean about that happy feeling when someone is thankful for your book recommendation. Few things compare to that feeling.

    Miss Remmers, Yay! I love screaming awesome :) Ah, no, it’s infiltrated your area too?! I was hoping there was something in the water here making parents go nutty.

  23. Too funny :) I like the Smeegle pic! I know this might hurt your ears to hear... but I only let my students check 2 books out at a time! This is their first year with a functioning school library, and they definitely don't have the hang of actually returning their books yet. But hey, at least they have a back-up book!

  24. Luckily my parents never imposed this restriction on me at the library, but nowadays my mother usually sees me with my nose buried in a book and asks, "Don't you ever get tired of reading all the time?" And I sure as heck would never be like that to my kids!

    I solemnly swear that I adore this post! And of course the Gollum screencap is PRECIOUSSSS!

  25. I loved this post and wish you were my librarian! I was lucky because my mom let me check out as many books as I wanted on my card, and because there's a limit when you're a kid, she added more books to her card. I used to read while walking to school and my mom's friends kept asking her why I did that and telling her that it wasn't safe since I could get hit by a car. I almost did once but for the most part I knew when I had to look up and cross the street.

    I don't carry around a novel as much anymore but I should get back into that habit since there's times when I'm out where I could definitely be reading and not be bored.

  26. Love this post!!! I totally agree with you, the idea of parents saying no to books is just too blasphemous to believe! But I can't lie, library fines are a total turn off and my librarian just isn't as sweet as you. That's why I usually stick to buying books.

  27. lolol this post is amazing! Love the pictures xD
    It's weird that parent would discourage their kids from getting more books; when I was younger my dad would have to help me carry my books cuz I'd have at least 10! I need one of those 'got books' bags!

    I must have backupbackupbackup books :P

    I have to agree with other posters--I wish you were my librarian! The ones at my library are nothing like you :/

  28. Oh my gosh--this post is SO FUNNY! I was the little girl taking 15 books out at once. Thankfully, my mom understood about having a backup book prepared! I don't understand why someone would only want their child to take out one book at a time. It defeats the purpose of becoming an avid reader. Or maybe that's just the book addict in me coming out...

  29. I was so laughing out loud while reading this! You are so funny! And here I am thinking that it's only in the bookstores that 'Pick one book only' thing happens. When I'm with my parents, my Dad would even help me carry all the books I want to borrow, so if I were going to your library, you and my parents are probably friends. Sadly, here in the Philippines, libraries are pretty strict/useless in that you are only allowed a limited number of books to borrow, and public libraries do not have that much book selections for fiction titles. So I make do with bookstores where I spend my parents' moolah two to four books at a time. Heh.

  30. hahahaha! I wish you would have been my librarian :) and you are 100% right about having a back up... They are necessary, especially in the worst case scenarios. Keep up the good work!


  31. My mom used to let me check out as many books as I wanted as long as she did not end up carrying any of them. Love this post.

  32. Katie, I thought the Smeegle pick was perfect because that’s exactly how I feel when I get a book I’ve been coveting. Haha, don’t worry, I’m ok hearing that. I totally understand why you’d need to do that. Plus, like you say, at least they have a backup book!

    BookishHobbit, Haha, yeah, I get that too. The whole, “You’re reading…still? Aren’t you bored?” Silly people. Harry Potter and LoTR reference all together?! You just made me smile :D

    A Canadian Girl, I wish I could be! Your mom sounds awesome. She should talk with these parents I know. I am happy to hear you weren’t hit by a car! That is reading dedication for you!

    Lisanna, Thanks! It’s completely blasphemous! I’m glad so many of you understand the gravity of the situation here. Aw, I wish your librarians were nicer. :)

    Laura, Thank you! I think it is very weird too. I was hoping it was maybe just my library, but from some of your comments it seems the problem is more widespread. Tragic. Yay for dads who help carry our overflowing book piles! I wish I could be your librarian too. No one should suffer a bad librarian.

  33. JessiKay, :) Thanks! It may be the book addict in me too, but I agree with you completely. I don’t understand it at all.

    Nina, Thank you! I can understand it in bookstores, but it’s horrible that it happens in a library. Your parents sound much better than these parents I know.

    The Lovely Getaway, Yup, you never know when you’ll need that backup book. It’s good to be prepared.

    Rebecca, Haha, well, your mom sounds good to me!

  34. Hilarious post, and I love the pictures you chose.
    Yeah, I'm a "book pusher" too... sometimes I'll be recommending 4 or 5 books to a kid at the library, and they're puzzling over which one to pick, I'll cheerfully tell the parents, "Why not check them ALL out? You don't have to read them all, and that way if one of them is boring or doesn't work for your book report, then you have plenty of back-up!"
    Another thing I say a lot, is "Hey, it's not like a bookstore, where you have to PAY for all of these books. They're free! Go hog wild!"

    Anything to get our circulation numbers up, I guess! LOL.

  35. Hahahaha, it's like you took the words right out of my mouth! :P

  36. I know this is an old post but it made me laugh so I thought I'd comment. When I was younger my aunt banned me from reading any fiction books because apparently they were a waste of time which naturally made me read even more. Now this addiction has reached a point were if I go a week without reading a book, I feel really anxious like I left my dog at the supermarket not that I do that or that I even have a dog but that is beside the point. I now have hundreds of physically real books and thousands of ebooks. If I can't read on my pc or actual books, I will use my phone which ha about a less than 2 inch screen. I reckon I qualify for Bibliophiles Anonymous.

    Your blog is awesome by the way.

    1. Thank you!! I'm very happy you like my blog and post :) I feel the same way! I don't even like leaving the house with just my one book if I'm close to the end. What if I finish it and then I'm left with nothing to read?! :P My husband forgot his book the other day and I asked him, "Don't you have a car book?" meaning, a book I always keep in my car for emergency situations when I'm out and have forgotten or finished my book. He didn't have a car book. Clearly I have work to do.


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...