Note: Julie’s been busy with grad school applications, so she has not been blogging. Hopefully she’ll have a chance to write again soon!

A few weeks ago, I went to the library without a book in mind. I knew I wanted to check one (or two) out, but I had an array of possibilities waiting … for me to find … by looking, reading the book jackets or considering what the librarians had placed out as recommendations.  It has been a long time, though, since I’ve employed this method of looking for my next read.

This is how I would often search for new books when I was younger — like in grade school and elementary school. My parents lived just a walk or bike ride away from one of the libraries in town. I loved wandering through the young adult section. I’d pick up titles somewhat at random — because they looked intriguing or I had a vague familiarity with the author.

After searching, I’d bring a few books home excited at the opportunity to find something riveting in what I’d grabbed. I don’t think that always happened, and I’m sure I found some rather dull books. But browsing did allow me to find books that I probably would not have otherwise ended up reading.

I had another motive for browsing the shelves just recently. I wanted to use for the first time my new library card for the library I’ve leaved near for 18 months now. It’s not that I don’t use the library. I had been going to the one that I have a card to from living at my parents’ house. That library — with three branches and an amazing collection — is not all that far from me.

Again, though, I’d always put something on hold, go in to the shelves near the entrance and grab what was waiting for me. It’s like I’d only dip my toe in. I felt like I was cheating the system a little bit and had to get back to truly using the library.

So, on this recent browsing day, a few covers jumped out at me. Two nonfiction books, which is what I always gravitate toward. Fiction doesn’t hold my interest as much as it used to. I like good true stories. They can often be more entertaining and less predictable than manufactured ones.

But, I also brought home “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I had been weary of it … because I tend to be weary of vastly popular things, including books. But I decided to give it a try.

Wow. I should have read it a long time ago. I just finished it last night. I want to read it again. I was so sad that it ended. Go read it if you have not already. It is the best fiction I’ve read in a long time. Engaging, great characters and a good message, too.

— Kimberly

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