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The Newcomer

There's a lot of truth in fiction

A lovely man in my life to whom I was trying to introduce to fiction many years ago strongly resisted reading anything that wasn't "true". He saw no value in novels that had sprung from someone's imagination.

I tried to whet his interest by explaining that novels were based on real life and one could learn many things from them. He wasn't buying that line at all. He continued to read news and technical magazines, which were full of "true" information while I continued to read those books that weren't.

Over the years, I've looked into the life of a geisha, the twisted minds of psychopathic killers and the Irish people so interestingly portrayed by author Maeve Binche.

I have no one favorite author. Indeed, I am hard pressed to even remember who wrote the last book I read. Perhaps this is because I read a book a day. Because I do, I have become a reader who lets books flow in one ear and out the other. I read for enjoyment or to pass the time. I almost always have a book with me...one never knows when they'll have to wait for an appointment or at road construction. With a book, I am always prepared to entertain myself. It certainly cuts down on frustration.

For all of my life I have been a library patron. When I was in grade school, my widowed mother would drop me at the library on her way to earn our living as a waitress in a nearby cafe. I worked my way through all of the Oz and Nancy Drew books while she "slung hash". When the library closed, I would cross the street, hunker down at a table in the kitchen and continue to read whatever book I had checked out. When her shift ended, I would sweep the floor and was allowed to keep whatever change turned up in the sweepings. (It wasn't until I was older that I realized the owner of the cafe had "salted" the sweepings so that I would always find at least three coins, sometimes even a quarter.)

In my 72 years of life I have held, or do hold, library cards from Cle Elum, Roslyn, Seattle, Yakima, Wapato, Toppenish, Walla Walla and towns in Arizona, Alaska, New Hampshire, Texas, California and Oregon.

I do not hold an active card in Sunnyside. My card here was deemed inactive earlier this year after I did not return books I had already returned.

For the first time in 72 years of using libraries, I was accused of not returning books. I explained that I had returned these books. I was told to go home and look under my sofa cushions, where I might have mislaid them.

Now I was not only labeled a book thief, I was suspected of being a poor housekeeper!

I don't know about your sofas, but I do know that the only thing under my sofa cushions is a plastic dog bone Ginger loves to hide there...and she and I both know exactly where it is!

My card will remain inactive until I do return books I cannot return because I have already returned them.

I wondered how I would ever replace the rich store of literature and junk reading I had been tapping into at the library.

Then I discovered thrift stores and yard sales! I am getting some of the best reading I have ever had through these outlets.

Also, friends who have heard of my plight have passed on their treasured gems. I am surprised they trust me with their beloved books. But, to date, none have sent me notices that I haven't returned them as promised.

I wish I could reactivate my Sunnyside Library card, which I could do if I would pay for the books the librarian says I haven't returned. But, this stubborn old German gal just refuses to pay for someone else's mistake.

So-I will continue to haunt the yard sales and thrift stores, especially one in Sunnyside in which I have found the kind of books I just love. I will not reveal which store this is because I can't afford to have another reading source dry up.

But I will tell you those books are all fiction-and there is truth in them, if people will just believe the writer!

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