I love serendipity in the library. When I first started using libraries, there was the joy of the card catalog (yes I'm showing my age here) and as you looked up your favorite author or topic your eye might catch another card describing a book that looked intriguing. As much as I rely on computers, I just don't run into that same level of randomness. That's where browsing the shelves comes in. I have my paper with all the call numbers written down, but once I get to the shelves, the sky's the limit in terms of what I might find. This month I think I was looking for books about volunteering and community organizing but somehow found Awful First Dates: Hysterical, True and Heartbreakingly Bad by Sarah Wexler in my hands - and what a treat it is!
Most of us have been on an awful first date, or three, or hundreds of them. Sarah has had more than her fair share of them. She had so many awful first dates that she couldn't believe that she was the only person this was happening to. Sarah started a blog, collected some great stories and published this book. I know, you're saying would you share one of these stories already?!
This isn't the best of the bunch, but as a librarian this one spoke to me. "I'm an English professor, so I said in my online dating profile that a shared love of books is important to me. Over dinner, I asked my date what a favorite book was. The reply: "1984." Which is fine, but kind of high-school-age reading. So I asked why the book still stood out and was told, "Well, I haven't actually read it. I read the CliffsNotes. But I could tell that if I did read it, it would definitely be my favorite." Not the worst first date ever, but that's probably one of the nicer ones in the book. If you've ever been on a bad first date (or you're happy that you haven't), you will relate to the stories in this book. They are the kind where snorting laughter and telling whoever's sitting next to, listen to this should be expected.