Madame L loves her local library! She loves it even though getting there means driving through a miasma of evil-smelling smoke from the smokestacks of the industrial town where she lives.
Yesterday Madame L got one of those robo-calls from her library: Hello. Madame. Ell. This is the Public. Library. Calling to tell. you, Madame. Ell. that a book you put on. Hold. Is in. Please come. and pick it up. Immediately."
So, Madame L hurried to the library, where she picked up her book and then went to the poetry section (811.Various, according to the Dewey Decimal System).
Madame L was disappointed not to find any poetry collections by Billy Collins, and then she remembered that she had three of his books she'd checked out from the library at home. Ah, well, Madame L thought, if the library has any more collections by Billy Collins, it's a good sign that someone else is also enjoying them, and it's a good a reminder to bring my three back so someone else can enjoy them, too. And maybe when they see these three books back on the shelves they'll bring in whatever ones they have checked out, so Madame L can enjoy them, too.
Madame L was surprised to find a book by Dave Barry in the middle of all the poetry books. Dave Barry writes poetry? Madame L thought. Then she looked at the Dewey Decimal number on the spine of the book. It was 814.Whatever, so it was in that location by mistake. However, Madame L thought, maybe it's a sign from the Muse of Humor, whoever that is, that Madame L should be easing up on the poetry.
No, Madame L reminded herself, the Muse of Humor does not give signs. It's most likely a sign from the Book-Shelving Intern that he/she needs to be more careful which shelf he/she pitches those books into. Or it may be a sign from the Dewey Decimal System itself that something is drastically wrong with the system, because supposedly ESSAYS are in the 814.whatevers, and HUMOR is in the 817.whatevers. So Dave Barry's writings are in the essay form, so what? They're humorous essays. Hello, Mister Dewey and Muse of Humor. Wake up and smell the laughs.
Madame L, by the way, hates the Dewey Decimal System, although she hasn't been able to think of a better system for arranging books.
Madame L has her own system, which is NOT a better system. It doesn't even work for Madame L herself, so it would be impossible to think it could work for anyone finding any book in her collection.
Madame L's So-Called Book-Ordering Nonsensical System (hereafter to be knows as the MLSCBONS) consists of having a bunch of poetry books arranged whimsically (because that's how to arrange poetry, correct?) on a couple of shelves, a bunch of reference books arranged by subject on another couple of shelves, and a bunch of fiction scattered randomly on shelves and floors throughout her study and guest room and elsewhere throughout her home.
Unfortunately, Madame L is not going to get around to re-arranging her books (logically or sensibly or any other way) very soon. And that's ... okay ... with Madame L, anyway.
Madame L checked out the Dave Barry book, Muse or no Muse, and a couple of books of poems, including a book by Sherman Alexie. Madame L was surprised to find that book in the Poetry (811.whatever) section because she didn't know Mr. Alexie wrote poetry. Neither did the librarian who checked out the book for Madame L.
Madame L is going to write a whole new post about Sherman Alexie and his writing and the people who think his ideas may be too hard for the youngsters of America to deal with. Stay tuned.
Eventually Madame L will also write more about poetry, fiction, and essays, including the poetry of Billy Collins, the poetry and essays of Sherman Alexie and the essays (and humor) of Dave Barry.