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Tax Money Well Spent

I scammed the public library into buying a book for me. I feel so clever!

About a month ago I saw a review about a book called “Hungry Planet” on the CalorieLab website. In it are pictures of 30 families in 24 countries with all the food they plan on eating that week. It sounded pretty cool, but it’s also $26.40 plus shipping at Amazon and not old enough to be found at any of the used dealers. Me, I’m still paying off my gall bladder surgery from two years ago, so I don’t feel like spending about $30.00 total on a book I’ll read once.

My local library has a great online system. For the past year or so I’ve been going online and placing the books that I want on hold. Then I just walk up to the front desk and they’re waiting for me because I made the little librarians scuttle around the stacks collecting the books like my own personal worker bees. I’m the queen of the hive! Bzzz, bzzz!

I looked for “Hungry Planet” in the library database, but it wasn’t there. However I did see a “Recommend to Order” link on the page. So I click on it, fill out the title, author, ISBN etc. and send the form, thinking it will probably get sent to some junk e-mail account where it will never be read or worse yet just bounce. I’d tried recommending one or two books before and nothing ever came of it.

Imagine my surprise the next day when I come home and there is a message on my answering machine from the library. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an actual phone call from the library. Usually they just send me form letters on 1980’s computer paper saying my books are ready for pick up. Guess what? (I bet you can guess.) They ordered the book and placed it on hold for me.

Not only am I patting myself on the back for saving $30.00, I’m still in shock that some of my tax money is actually being put directly toward my use. It’s like I got a mini-refund.

I don’t know why this book got approved for purchase and not the other books I had submitted, which I honestly can’t remember the titles of. I can only guess this book has some sort of inherent educational value that made it appealing. Or maybe we are just subject to the whimsy of some mysterious master book buyer for the library. My friend Aparecida says her local libaray has an inordinate amount of obscure indie CDs that never get checked out because the head of purchasing just buys what he wants to listen to.

Either way, I feel like I won the lottery or maybe just a scratch off game. I haven’t felt this good since some bitch hit my car in the parking lot and I got $700 from her insurance company, even though the trade-in value of my car is less than $700. I kept the dent, spent the money and every time I see my smashed-in rear passenger door I smile.

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kathryn • November 16, 2005 at 5:16 pm

Good one. Sounds like an interesting book too.


Kirsten • November 17, 2005 at 3:38 am

Cool – such power over one’s local library! *Evil laugh*

Aparecida is an unusual name… hard to shorten, I’d have thought?


PastaQueen • November 17, 2005 at 9:05 am

Aparecida is actually her Internet name, like how I’m PastaQueen. It does sort of sound like a Spanish name though, doesn’t it?


Queen • November 18, 2005 at 11:34 am

Our Library system is set up so that when you have a special request, they can search all the libraries in the State. And believe me, I’ve asked for some ‘remote’ items — you know, scripts and scores of outdated materials.

Still — it’s nice to know that your tax $’s are being USED by you. For a change.


PastaQueen • November 18, 2005 at 9:00 pm

I always thought it would be fun if you could demarcate how your tax money was spent. Like, you could put 50% in education, 20% in libraries and 30% in the fund for the arts. It would never work of course because billions of dollars would be put towards building new sports stadiums and maybe $5.00 towards road repair :)


Kari • August 6, 2006 at 1:03 am

I’ve just started reading through your blog from the beginning.

I felt the need to respond to this post because my family and friends make fun of me for putting library books on hold and having the librarians do all the work :-) There’s someone else out there!

Congratulations on how far you’ve come. Keep up the good work!


distar • December 4, 2006 at 8:44 pm

i love my public library! i regularly order books from them, rather than purchase.

And Hungry Planet is a fascinating concept.


Isa • December 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm

I’m a librarian and it is now Dec. of 2008. I found this blog because I was ordering books and your “Half of Me” is one I chose to order. Reading the review prompted me to look the blog up and I’m totally hooked! Just want you to know that we look at all recommended books but we only have the budget for some, so the book recommended must have positive reviews from well known sources.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

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