I love libraries. Who doesn't, right? They are amazing, even the less-than-nice ones. And by that I mean the OB library. The OB library was recently upgraded, only you can't tell. The building is charming from the outside, a small early-California Spanish-style number, but inside? Well, it's dingy, and small, and full of homeless people using the free Internet access. The children's section is roomy, but again, old and dingy, and well, I really don't love to visit this particular library. Except for the fact that it is still a library, so you can borrow books. And movies. And they have a small book sale area right inside the front door that sometimes has good reads for $1.
But there is one thing about this library that beats all others I've ever been to - the magic box. Yes, I said magic. There is always a box outside the back door, usually more than one box, actually, and they are full of books. Free books. Books for the taking.
And the crazy thing is there are really amazing books in there. Books that we were going to the library to look for anyway. (I kid you not....)
My middle daughter has discovered the Harry Potter series, and although she owns a few of them, mostly we have borrowed them from the library. We went to the OB library in search of book number two, and what was in the magic box, but book number three! Yes, true, we still had to borrow the second book, but whoot whoot, we were covered for the next one. And we get to keep it.
I have picked up some goodies for myself from there too. I doubt I would have ever discovered the book below if not for the magic box. But it was a perfect read for me.
I picked up this number this very morning.
The blurb on the front from the San Francisco Chronicle, right there above the author's name says "Call him the anti-Mayle. Stephen Clarke is acerbic, insulting, un-PC and mostly hilarious." And now, don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Mayle. In fact I like him and his books, especially Chasing Cezanne, but if there is one thing I can really get behind, it's being un-PC about the French.
But the very most amazing thing the magic box has provided us with is this:
It is the second of the Percy Jackson series. My oldest daughter is a, shall we say, reluctant reader. But she bombed a recent history test, and there was extra credit available to those students who read books from the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and then wrote a summary about them. I told her she would be doing at least two of these summaries, so we went online and put books 1 and 2 on hold at the library. When they were available, we headed to none other than the OB library. We, of course, glanced in the magic box on the way in, and low and behold, The Sea of Monsters, book number two, was in there. Right in the box. For the taking. Now if that isn't serendipitous I don't know what is.
But the very best, magical part of this story? She likes this series. She stayed up reading this book under her covers with a flashlight the other night. And asked me to wake her up early so that she could read it before school on another occasion.
All it took was a little magic.