I think it was when library holds stopped at the university I was working at that I realized coronavirus was not playing around. I had luckily grabbed a stack of books from the front desk in that final week when everything seemed dark and gloomy, and people were wearing gloves and no masks.
When I got through those books tho I had to find some way to entertain myself. I turned to my own books and discovered jewels that were right in front of me having gone unread since meeting the shelf. I read Richard Wright and Edward Said and Tarek El-Ariss. I reread Chester Himes and bell hooks and Elie Wiesel. And yea, in a pandemic, if a new book really catches my eye, I buy it.
Library holds opened up at the start of this fall semester, which is ending now as I write this sentence. They also gave an option to get books mailed to your house with rush-delivery. It was pretty great. I didn't overuse it like I usually would because there was a paper in each book reminding you about quarantining them.
But sometimes it does feel good to hold such a used book from the library specifically. The way the pages are bent down show how another person once held the same copy of The Invention of Women by Oyeronke Oyewumi. That person already knows this as I'm just right now reading it. It reminds you about having a similar need to others, even in book taste.
Which I appreciate, just so long as they don't write all in it lol.
-Rachel Wagner 2020