Getting a book into the ancient Library of Alexandria was a big deal back in the day. A manuscript was discovered – sometimes even, er, “borrowed” – then copied out by hand, letter by letter. It took days, at the least. It’s a bit easier to get a new book added to the Lennoxville Library’s collection. We buy them, ready made. Or, this week, we ask you to buy them.
The Adopt-A-Book campaign is an important annual fundraiser. Volunteers have been reading and researching to find the best books that are out there, and we present them to you this Thursday, October 1, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Each book sports a price tag. There are expensive reads, and inexpensive books. Some are novels, some are children’s books, some are non-fiction. We ask our patrons – you! – to pop by and see what we have on offer. When you donate the price of a book, you ensure that it becomes a part of our permanent collection.
You get to read it first, then it’s placed on our shelves for everyone to read. Your book becomes a gift to our community.
And while the Lennoxville Library isn’t quite as grand as Alexandria’s, it’s a fun, cozy space for all, located in a beautiful building. It was created to make reading accessible to all (we have audio books, as well), to jump-start the imagination, and to expand horizons. Oh, and because reading is fun.
By the time the just-a-tiny-bit-obsessive Ptolemy III was in power, in 246 BCE, the Library of Alexandria was truly massive. “Ptolemy III ordered that all ships in the Alexandria harbor be searched. If books were found, they were copied, the copies returned to the owners, the originals stored in the library,” notes author Steve Berry in the 2007 thriller, The Alexandria Link (filed on our shelves in Adult Fiction). This is one of the Cotton Malone series, featuring a retired American spy whose efforts at a quiet life selling rare books in Copenhagen are constantly thwarted. This time, because his son is kidnapped by bad guys seeking something called The Alexandria Link (as in the library).
That library, in real life, no longer exists. It was, as Berry notes, perhaps accidentally destroyed by the conquering Julius Caesar when a fire he’d ordered in another part of the Egyptian city went out of control. Another theory blames Christians seeking to destroy pagan artifacts. Yet a third theory credits Muslims seeking to destroy pagan artifacts. We may never know what really happened.
But where there’s a mystery, there’s an author happy to have some controversial fun with it. The Alexandria Link is, it turns out, a man with some sort of secret knowledge connected to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Only Malone knows where he lives, but unscrupulous others want that guy. And they’ll stop at nothing to find him.
This is a fun read that forces a squabbling divorced couple back together to ensure the safety of their son, then folds in a complex issue (Middle Eastern politics), the Old Testament, and a global conspiracy involving the US government and a cabal of evil capitalists. Things blow up, and spies lose their lives. Phew!
The Lennoxville Library is much less complicated, and a rather great place to visit. We offer membership to Sherbrooke residents for free, sponsor reading groups for adults (in both official languages), and hold regular (free) children’s activities. Plus wifi, and a couple of computers. The worst that might happen is a paper cut. (We’re very sorry, but I might have a plaster in my bag; hold on a minute.)
We’d love for you to come by on Thursday, October 1, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Adopt A Book. If you’ll forgive the forthrightness: We accept cheques, and we’ll put a book (or more) aside for you if you want to come by a bit later and make your donation to the Lennoxville Library.
Can’t make it Thursday? Books will still be on display Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3. Come on by! We’re at the corner of Queen and College. Give the gift of reading.
— Eleanor Brown, September 30, 2015