I would like to relate an amusing story. It didn’t start out as a Perfect Moment, but became one in the end.
I got a notification that a book I had requested from the library was now available. My library, like most, if not all, has a system that allows people to put books on hold and the people are put on a list and eventually get a call or email that the book is available. You then have a designated time to pick up the book. This is because some books are incredibly popular and sometimes the waiting list can be hundreds of people long. You either enter the list, or forget about reading the book in a timely manner, or go and buy the book. Being the somewhat frugal person that I am, I am usually content to wait. Sometimes my friends cannot wait and I get to borrow the copies they buy. Usually, I just have to wait.
With the Pandemic and not being able to visit the library, anything I want to borrow has to be requested online. This is no big deal, but I do miss walking around the library looking at books. I like walking around bookstores too, but balk at the high prices books now command. Scrolling through the library catalogue is okay, but I don’t always know exactly what I am searching for and sometimes cannot remember the authors, or don’t feel inspired. However, and I don’t remember when, I came across a new Jim Butcher novel in the Harry Dresden series and put my name on the waiting list–then promptly forgot about it.
So, the other day, I got an email that my book was in and went to the library to partake in Covid safe book pickup system. The Library in my town is being transformed. The library has already been renovated but the surrounding area is being turned into “Library Square” which will include some maker labs, an ice rink (this is Canada) and several other things that are part of this grand vision. I like the plan and now is a good time to get some work done. This has meant that all library pickups are now done at a window on a side street. It doesn’t seem terribly efficient and it is a bit cold to be waiting around to go through the whole show you card, wait for the books, and show your card again procedure, but that is what I did.
So, I picked up Jim Butcher’s Battle Ground and went off to my girlfriend’s place. It is always nice to have a book in case someone is busy, or I need to wait somewhere. My memory is still good enough that I can read a couple of pages at a time.
In an appropriate moment, I started looking at the book summary inside the dust jacket, and I felt a little confused. I remember the plot and basic outcome of the previous novel, and there seemed to be some gaps. I consulted. the list of books and then it hit me. I missed a book. Granted the author hasn’t written a complete novel in this series in about 5 or six years (there were two books of short stories to sustain us) while he focused his creative energies elsewhere, but how could I be so daft.
I checked the library website and they had the book, but predictably there were a number of holds on the book. I wasn’t devastated, but I was a little disappointed. I also wondered how I could have missed that. My girlfriend suggested that I just read the books out of order. I had done that for most of the series, but didn’t really like reading them that way. It just isn’t the same and I vowed from about 2018 on that I wouldn’t do that in a book series again. I checked Amazon, but the affordable paperback version wasn’t out yet and I haven’t had any luck transferring e-books to my Kobo in quite a while. So, I figured that I would just read the book and read the preceding book at a later date. I was too disappointed to start that day, so I put it down.
On Tuesday, my birthday, I got another email that my book was ready for pickup at the library. I noticed it was a Jim Butcher novel and thought that the library didn’t realize that I had already picked up the book. It’s kind of like when my phone notifies me of things twice. I was about to delete the email when I took a closer look and I noticed that titles were different. Unbelievably, to me at least, this was the first book of the two. I must have reserved both of them at the same time and not remembered it. Now I had both books and all the annoying thoughts I had went away.
I haven’t had a chance to read them yet because I have been busy fielding calls for my birthday, exercising (despite being my birthday potential indulgence needed to be met with calorie burning) and filling out Employment Insurance claims. Regardless, getting to read both books in the correct order and being surprised at that is a Perfect Moment.