It’s week 18 of the 2015 edition of the Deal Me In short story reading challenge. I drew the ten of diamonds, the second ten in a row that I’ve drawn from my short story deck. In 2015, I’ve reserved the diamonds suit for stories included in the local anthology, “Indy Writes Books” – A volume of which Bibliohilopolis is a proud “first edition sponsor.” 🙂 The local author contributors to this collection were asked to provide work that had “something to do with reading, writing, literacy, books, or bookstores.” This story, whose narrator is a librarian, certainly meets that criteria.
Zoe’s job at the “Whitcomb Street Library” (in an economically depressed part of town) was the only one she could find “with benefits” after a standout college career where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Creative Writing. She’s become jaded about literature and a career in letters. She laments how Fifty Shades of Grey has a waiting list a mile long at her branch while the covers of books with quality literature remain shiny and new. She also wishes more kids came to the library. One kid who does, though, is Veronica Hyatt, a thin girl who’s reading through the library “A to Z,” checking out books in authors’ alphabetical order, ostensibly to read for her grandmother.
Veronica’s up to the “W”s when we meet her and is looking for something by Eudora Welty, who’s currently checked out to another patron (I guess at least some of them read actual literature!). Some time later, a family member of Veronica visits the library and inquires about Welty, saying “…we was looking for some of her short stories awhile ago, but they was checked out.” It is only then that Zoe learns the true story of the young girl and her “grandmother.”
A great short story, written in a kind of timeline format, with the the nice touch of the entry dates being listed as “Due Dates” as one would find in the back of an old library book. I’ll finish with a quotation from the story that comes after Zoe learns “The Rest of the Story” about Veronica.
“It struck Zoe then that it was in the knowing and getting to know, through the bumping together of words and lives that hope rises. The writer has little to do with it. The person who matters is the reader, turning the words until the heart spawns the fullness of their meaning. That was why she knew Walt Whitman. Not because she wrote a thesis on him, but because of the exquisite realization of the bones and the marrow in the bones he described.”
More about the Indy Writes Books anthology may be found at http://www.indyreads.org/indy-writes-books/
What about you? What is your favorite story with a library setting among those you’ve read? Do you have any personal library stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them.
I’ve previously posted about a few other selections from this excellent anthology – linked below if you’d like to take a look:
Dan Wakefield’s Introduction “Corn, Limestone, Horseweed, and Writers”
“El Estocada” by John David Anderson and
“Anna’s Wings” by Angela Jackson-Brown
Below (from Wikipedia): Hoosier Literary Luminary James Whitcomb Riley – perhaps the inspiration for the Whitcomb Street Library name in the story… 🙂