Reading and Writing—a mystery

    I frequent the Livermore Civic Center Library. My modus operandi is an open book (pun intended). I search the library website and reserve a selection. An email notice confirms availability. I drive to the library, print-out in hand, and drag my heavy Friends of the Library reusable bag to the book return area. I deposit books in the manual book drop next to the out-of-order automatic gobbler. After multiple ka-thud sounds (personalized word) from books falling into a container behind the wall, I tuck the empty bag under my arm and walk to the holding room. Voila! My book awaits me on the shelf, in alpha order by my last name.
    Why can’t I stroll to automatic checkout with that single book in my hand? Clue #1. I have to pass through displays featuring dozens of new books in the center aisle. If that temptation doesn’t capture my interest, I can’t resist sauntering to the mystery section, seeking out favorite authors. Clue #2: If an author writes different genres under the same name, all books are in the fiction alpha listing, not in mysteries section. I trot to C for Catherine Coulter or G for John Grisham.
    Finished, I step to automatic checkout, scan my keychain library card and special barcodes on the face of the books, pocket the receipt, and shove the books into the bag. I’m done, right? Not yet. Clue #2. From checkout, I follow the hall around to the Friends of the Library used book store near the front. Floor to ceiling, something for everybody, or so they say. I begin with mystery authors, alpha order, then peer at books for interesting titles. I fork over a couple of bucks for two nearly-new novels.
    On the drive home savoring a quet evening reading, Clue #3 surprises me: I have to review chapters from my novelist critique group submissions. I lug the heavy bag inside, separate mine from theirs, and head for my computer. I will read tomorrow. End of mystery.

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