These days, when I go to the library by myself I tend to look for books about writing professionally, books about finding one's perfect career and cookbooks for people who don't enjoy cooking.
The Lonely Planet Story
But the library book I've been reading lately is Once While Travelling - the Lonely Planet story, by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Mostly told from Tony's perspective, it starts how he met and married Maureen and takes you through 20-odd years of building what's become a vast travel-publishing empire. It appealed to me because most of my travels were aided by Lonely Planet guidebooks, and I'd always wanted to become a travel writer. Despite the alleged hardships, I can't help feeling that theirs was the perfect life, because even having kids didn't stop them in their unbeaten tracks.
The story isn't all in chronological order, which can be confusing at times, but it's all interesting. Tony talks about the times when Lonely Planet was on the brink of financial collapse, as well as the time when his marriage was too. There is even a chapter on what it's like to be a guide book writer, which I found both enlightening and off-putting. Having read this chapter, I don't think I'd want to be one (I'd rather be like Bill Bryson - sort of a roving personality - than spend all my travelling time rushing around checking facts).
Still, reading about the Wheelers' adventures makes me quite wistful.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
When a major new bookshop opens in town, I want to go and see whether they stock anything in particular that isn't already available in the exiting shops. So when I went to the new Borders shop, I was expecting to come out of there with some new American book.
What I did buy was a copy of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which is so old I probably could have found a cheap copy at one of the many second-hand bookshops. Still, I wanted to read it because I'm quite interested in the universality of myths (plus it was mentioned many times in articles about Buffy), so I bought it. I haven't gotten that far into it yet, but at the moment I'm enjoying the the stuff relating particular Greek myths with psychiatric conditions e.g. the infamous Oedipus Complex.