As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m going to be doing some readers’ advisory stuff with the library I’m volunteering at, which is pretty delightful. One of the things they want me to do is put together a “volunteer column” for their blog, which is starting to come into its own. Very exciting. I’m not sure exactly what form my column is going to take, but I figured I’d throw up a couple of “demo” posts, as it were, and see what sticks! You might see what comes next up on the library blog at some future date…

It’s one of the perils of volunteering at the library — you’ve got a cart full of books that you’re tasked with putting back in their proper place, but nearly every time you pick one up, you find yourself thinking, “Hmm. That’s an interesting title.” And some of those times, you think, “That’s a really interesting title. Let me just see what this here book is about,” and then you’re checking out the jacket flap and maybe the first page and then sometimes you even find yourself putting the book right back on the cart, so that you can check it out yourself when you’re done for the day!

Terrible, I know. Luckily for me, and you, and the library, I have plenty of books checked out right now, so I can’t take home every book that intrigues me. But if you want to head over to the stacks and grab one, I won’t stop you!

Here are a few books that caught my eye the other day:

How Starbucks Saved My Life, by Michael Gates Gill
It can’t be overstated how much I subsisted on Starbucks for the greater part of my college career. So I couldn’t help but be attracted to this title, though I admit I was hoping it was going to validate my use of caffeine to write last-minute essays and solve last-minute problem sets. I guess not, though, as the subtitle to this is “A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else.” Looks like it’s more of a riches-to-rags story, which doesn’t really pique my interest. I imagine, though, that if you’ve ever worked at a Starbucks-like company or if you’ve ever accepted a job just for the money, you’ll probably find something to like about this book.

The Trail to Buddha’s Mirror, by Don Winslow
I was intrigued here by the visual image I got of myself, trudging along some dirt path, possibly up a mountain even, on my way to find a mirror that was perhaps once used by Siddhārtha Gautama. Well, apparently the mirror is actually a lake, and that trail is probably metaphorical, but the plot still sounds pretty good: “Robert Pendleton, a biochemist and fertilizer expert for AgriTech corporation, has gone missing from a conference in San Francisco where he reportedly became smitten with a beautiful Chinese woman. After locating Pendleton and meeting the stunning Li Lan–and nearly being killed by an unknown assailant when the pair flee from him–Carey soon realizes that more than mere fertilizer know-how is at stake.” The Carey mentioned here is Winslow’s detective, and this is his second book; if you’re the kind who likes to read a series in order, you’ll want to start off with the book called A Cool Breeze on the Underground.

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, by Sam Gosling
“Does what’s on your desk reveal what’s on your mind? Do those pictures on your walls tell true tales about you? And is your favorite outfit about to give you away?” I’m afraid the answer to all of these questions is yes. Even worse, there’s a book out there that anyone can read to find out just what all that stuff is secretly saying about you! Gosling professes to be able to tell how reliable a significant other is, or how committed an employee is to her company, just by looking at how things are arranged in medicine cabinets or cubicles. I’m not saying that you should start spying on your closest friends and neighbors, but if you’re just interested in “getting to know them better,” I think this book could help.

First Among Equals, by Jeffrey Archer
This one really only caught my eye because of a book by Jasper Fforde called First Among Sequels that I did not previously realize had taken its title from another book. Unfortunately, I don’t think Archer’s book is going to have anything to do with a book-jumping, time-travelling literary detective. Instead we have this: “Charles Seymour, second-born son, will never be the earl like his father, but he did inherit his mother’s strength-and the will to realize his destiny…Simon Kerslake’s father sacrificed everything to make sure his son’s dreams come true. Now it is Simon’s chance to rise as high as those dreams allow…Ray Gould was born to the back streets but raised with pride-a quality matched by a sharp intellect and the desire to attain the impossible…Andrew Fraser was raised by a soccer hero turned politician. Now it’s his turn for heroics, whatever the cost. From strangers to rivals, four men embark on a journey for the highest stakes of all-the keys to No. 10 Downing Street.” I’m not terribly keen on historical or political fiction, but if you are, you might want to check this out.

Replay, by Ken Grimwood
I wasn’t terribly drawn in by the title or cover on this book, but when it fell off of my cart I caught sight of the back cover copy, which proclaimed that the main character was going to get to live his life over and over again, in a 25-year loop, until he got it right. Yes, I know this was done to a lesser extent in Groundhog Day, but I LOVED Groundhog Day and also Replay did it first by six years and won an award doing it, so I think this book might follow me home sometime soon.

Speaking of books that followed me home, I’ll have another post up tomorrow detailing what did find its way onto my shelf full of library books this week.

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