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Dick Lange reading to Scott & Trina Lange, approx. 1966

Dick Lange reading to Scott & Trina Lange, approx. 1966

I’m the kind of reader who often just grabs books from the shelves at the library—mostly based on the covers, of course—instead of reading reviews or searching for books I might like. Maybe it’s actually the English major in me who had to read whatever the professors required, but it’s not the best technique. Do I really want to read another Moby Dick or a Tom Jones for fun?

More often the books that most disappoint have much fewer redeeming qualities than those classics. What I really hate is a book where I can’t bring myself to care about a single character and/or where the ending provides not even the slightest glimmer of hope. Although I’m not looking for unflawed characters or the sappiest of happy endings, I don’t need hopelessness either. If I want to find tales of doom and gloom, I can just look around the larger world or even my own personal realm and not waste my time reading.

The local library here in Englewood has started a program that just might save me from myself—or at least from my random reading habits. Good Books, Your Books provides readers with a personal advisor (from the library staff) who recommends books based upon a reader’s answers to survey questions and personal follow-up questions.

So far my advisor, Children’s Librarian Hillary Cole Davis, has been spot on with her recommendations for me. She’s found the right mix of serious and not-so-serious reads for me. I can handle a little murder, mayhem, abuse, and/or estrangement, as long as growth follows. On the other hand, I also like to intersperse the deeper reads with something a little formulaic and humorous—as long as I still need to bring my intellect along for the reading ride.

Stretching from the modern-day disparate locales of Wyoming and the English countryside to turn-of-the 20th century rural New York State to the divided England of the Wars of the Roses, the settings of my reads have been just as diverse as before but the stories are more suited to my tastes.

Our public libraries are fighting to stay relevant in an age filled with access to overwhelming amounts of information—and they succeed best when they help us to filter out the excess noise and find not only what we were looking for in the first place, but also a few surprising discoveries along the way.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Be glad I kept my laptop shut—or at least chose not to approach it last Friday. In general, my blogging policy is if I can’t say anything nice at all—or at least head toward a slightly positive ending—that maybe I should just leave my private thoughts, well, private. After all, I do know how to write by hand in a journal if I want to spew.

But I didn’t do that either.

No, I sat in my reading chair with the dogs (don’t worry, not until after I invited them, Mr. Behaviorist) and finished a book. As I reflected on facing the weekend with limited mobility and limited funds, I realized a trip to my local library could rescue me from a truly mopey fate. Thankfully, our taxes still support a superb facility that can provide entertainment to the poor and downtrodden or those just temporarily broke and grumpy, such as myself.

Unfortunately I ran into a longtime acquaintance when I was really not up for chit-chat. I was too busy wallowing in my supposed restricted future, thank you very much, to socialize.

“How’s it going?” she asked.

Ms. Grumpy replied, “My hips don’t work.”

Now, she’s known me long enough to know that I wasn’t talking about pain. Still, I wish if I were going to be so brutally honest, that I would have added something like, “And you know how I get when I don’t move.” She and I are both, after all, women of a certain age, who have experienced our share of physical downtimes due to injuries. We may have met on school committees, but we also run into each other at the local recreation center (another public-supported facility that has saved both my body and soul!)

Then I took myself, as well as a few books and a DVD, home to my chair where I lost myself inside someone else’s world—OK, not a world I want to inhabit. But hey, I wasn’t reading about my own murder.

The next day I woke up, hips aching, not ready to give up my grudge against Life’s newest twist. A few hours later, though, I’d kind of forgotten about the hips because they had started working better with little more than a B-Complex capsule.

Which meant my previous day’s conclusion—that life as I had known it was over—might have been a little melodramatic.

At the chiropractor visit the week before, I’d finally had success—my hips had not moved at all thanks to work with wearing my oh-so-stylish trochanter belt. That meant I graduated to wearing it less, as well as increasing my level of activity when I did wear it. I have to admit, I worked hard in my yoga classes with that belt. However, I did have to exercise in Deep Water class without it.

By last Thursday night, I could not even walk close to a normal pace as we worked with our dogs and the behaviorist.

On Friday, when the chiropractor asked how I was doing, I told him much better except for that walking thing—which was really not improving.

So he attacked the painful spots and then followed-up by having me lie down on the roller table where I also received more of the electro-stimulation treatment. Then he suggested I follow the session with a slow walk.

My fifteen minutes on the trail were excruciating while my stride mirrored the length of my foot. I just assumed that my hips had not even held half an hour.

“Gloom, despair, and misery on me . . .”

I’d forgotten the chiropractor had stated that in a perfect world I’d go straight to a deep tissue massage, not a walk. What I think I was really experiencing was a reaction to having the scar tissue manipulated—I know from doing restorative yoga that focused release of longtime toxins can initially cause intense pain.

Not only was I not sentenced to my chair for the whole weekend, but I also continue to notice improvements.

I think I am getting better.

Thank goodness I didn’t receive the new DVD/CD for ZUMBA instructors on Friday. I might have thrown it at the wall, but instead, yesterday, I got out the music, popped it in the CD player, and started figuring out which songs I plan to learn in order to teach.

My beat goes on . . .

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