Strange Bedfellows

January 13, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 12 Comments

As a secretary, nothing makes me shudder more than the idea of something getting misfiled, because if it’s in the wrong place it could be anywhere at all.  Yesterday I went to the library to get my held books, and there at the top of the stack was a completely random misfile.  I’d requested a book from the next county over, and this book was also brought over through that system, but it wasn’t mine!

It was Plain Perfect, an… Amish romance novel.

People should read whatever they want.  That does not, however, mean that everyone should read every genre.  Romance novels are not for me, especially not one that might suggest a woman’s path to perfect happiness involves strapping herself to her oven.  (I think perfect happiness has to include the options to wear pants, speak your mind, and travel freely).  Let’s just say I would be one of the least likely people to form an audience for this book.

I had to wonder what happened to the book I had chosen.  Did the person who asked for the Amish book wind up with Black Tickets?  One reviewer of this short story collection by Jayne Anne Phillips called it an “exhumation of human depravity,” “pocked with sexual deviation and marked with terror.”  Most likely not the first choice for someone with romantic fantasies about agriculture.

Glancing over the checkout counter, I caught a brief glimpse of the patron record for the rightful borrower of the little paperback.  The last name started with a T (the opposite end of the alphabet from mine) and, could it be?  I wouldn’t bet money on it, but it really really looked like an unambiguously male first name.

The question is, was this truly a random mistake, or is there someone bored enough in the back room to play a little switcheroo from time to time?


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  1. I am so with you on this….but I’m sure that comes as no surprise.

    Now you know how I felt when a publicist asked me if I would like to review Sarah Palin’s new book and attend a signing nearby. Riiiiiight.

    • Ha ha ha! I was just complaining about that book last night, though for a different reason. It appears that Ms. Palin dedicates a paragraph to “vegetarians and vegans,” saying if one came to her house she would serve them a nice salad and then explain, if we weren’t supposed to eat animals, why did God make them out of meat? Ugh. If she came to my house, I might grit my teeth, but at least I would serve her an *actual meal.*

      • I sometimes think it might be worth reading the book just to find the gems like that, but I think the knowledge that so many people admire her and listen to what she says would scare me too much to find any humour in it.

  2. How funny. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when the person who requested the Amish book gets your book? Although secretly I do like the theory of someone in the back room switching books around to see if she/he can broaden people’s reading tastes 😉

    Also, funny enough, a client who knows I read a lot came in last Friday with an Amish / Christian romance series that I just HAD to read. All I can say is that I had a dull weekend yelling at the characters in my head that they should just LEAVE and WEAR WHAT THEY WANT and THINK FOR THEMSELVES already.

    • When I first told Rocket Scientist there was such a thing as Amish romance, he thought I was messing with him!

      • I only knew / assumed such a thing existed because in my young adult years our pastor’s wife was always pushing Christian romance novels on me. Christian and Amish romance, it seems, follow the exact same patterns.

  3. Oh my goodness. I have read Black Tickets several times, and it’s a fine collection, but it will most certainly shock anyone expecting an Amish romance novel.

    • Oh good – now I want to read it even more. It looks like it finally turned up and I can go get it soon.

  4. You never know if that person really requested it for themselves. For one thing, some women do have men’s names (including me, actually). Or maybe its a gay guy who has a thing for farmer’s. Who knows. I do know that Amish fiction is quite popular right now, so maybe someone got it just to see what the fuss was all about.

    • Okay, I guess I can share that the name was ‘Seth’ – I guess anything can be a girl’s name but I hadn’t heard of that one. You’re right, though, there could be any number of reasons anyone might be curious about Plain Perfect.

  5. I’m guessing it was just misfiled–that’ll happen when library workers are shelving books and are called away frequently in the middle of it to wait on patrons and do other things. This just happened to me for the firt time at my library–couldn’t find my copy of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright-Sided,” which I REALLY wanted to read. I wonder where it’s misfiled on the holds shelf?

    I’m not going to touch the subject of Amish romance. I tend towards erotica myself so it’s not a subgenre I have a lot to do with.

  6. I’ve heard so much about Amish novels. I have never read one let alone a Romance one. I wonder how pastionately they can be. Thanks to you I’m going to read one and find out myself. My novels promote Christian values but still have very passionate romances. I wonder if the Amish are the same?

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