The first time I moved away from home for a long period of time, I joined the local library as soon as I could. I had a set date to move back to the US in a year, and so I knew I wouldn’t be buying lots of books and lugging them back (not to mention I was on a teacher’s salary). There was also the fact that the local bookstore in my small Spanish town didn’t carry many English books.
So off to the library I went! Annnnd…it was the same problem in the library. When you go to libraries (and most bookstores, unless they are specialty bookstores) in non-English speaking countries, you will find 2 kinds of English books: Dan Brown/super popular books, or a million tomes of Shakespeare. If you’re looking to brush up on your classics, by all means get yourself to the library or bookstore. But if you’re looking for Murakami translated into English, that Margaret Atwood you haven’t read, the latest Eugenides novel, or any kind of well written, somewhat contemporary novel – then you’ll be out of luck.
But! There is an easy solution! E-media. I love books, bookstores, and libraries as much as the next person, but a girl’s gotta read.
Before I came back to France, I stopped by my local library in LA and opened up an e-media account. Apparently, if you already have a library card, you don’t need to do that. Whoops. Anyway. It’s been great.
By the way, it is the first building owned by LAPL, and it the building itself has had an interesting life since the library opened in 1913. Read more about it here.
There are thousands of books that I can check out, there are waiting lists for the most anticipated novels, and you can do all of this from anywhere in the world! So get yourself an e-reader, and get yourself squared up at your local library before moving abroad.
Of course, there are many reasons to support local bookstores and libraries all around the world, but when I go book shopping at a French bookstore with my husband, I can’t help looking around and thinking “water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”