“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R. R. Martin
I love going to the library—especially my home library—the Welland Public Library.
It’s my sanctuary; it’s where I find my zen. And, it’s also where I spend on a small fortune on late fees. It’s getting to the point where something should be named after me. But, I digress.
Most importantly, it’s also where I play “book roulette,” a game in which I head to a particular section (usually where the newest books are found) and just grab a random book to read.
That’s how I came to read Looker and Mosaics.
Looker by Laura Sims (2019)
Forget “never judge a book by its cover”; the adage should be never assume the dust jacket blurb accurately portrays the essence of the tale within.
In the case of Looker—Laura Sim’s debut novel—this couldn’t be truer, as the Hitchcockian thriller breathlessly promised on the front flap of the book never once materializes.
Rather, it’s a fascinating character study of paranoia, obsession, and unchecked mental health.
Over the years, I’ve read a ton of books and very few have actually made me physically uncomfortable. In fact, I can only remember one other book that succeeded in doing that: The Fan by Bob Randall—from a previous edition of “book roulette.”
The Fan by Bob Randall (1977)
And speaking of The Fan, I loved the way this book was put together. Rather than typical prose, its layout is composed entirely of letters and memos.
Through these letters, The Fan tells the story of Sally Ross, a film star transitioning to Broadway. She’s got an ex-husband with whom she still enjoys a friendly relationship, an excellent assistant, and many friends.
She also has an obsessive fan, Douglas, whom she sloughs off at first. Slowly, Douglas’ letters become more deranged and Sally involves the police. Too little, too late? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Released in 1977, The Fan uses a unique layout to great effect. To be sure, I wasn’t convinced such a gimmick would work.
But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Fan gives me chills just thinking about it.
The Moral of the Story
There are those among us who believe that the need/desire for libraries is waning.
Would I have ever found these books if not for my local library? I think not.
And so, I implore you, dear reader, make use of your local library. Take your children, cajole your partner into taking you on a study date, or just go on your own.
Oh, and be sure to visit the Bradley Shea Study Room at the WPL. Well, it’s not named that yet, but maybe one day!