25 July 2005


I have been recommended several times to read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, a set of "young adult fiction" books set in part in Oxford. Being without anything to read lately I wandered down to the local library on Saturday to see if I could get a copy. The Headington branch of the Oxfordshire Library System is typical of small-town sub-branches: two or three rooms in an old brick building, big kids section, lots of crappy romance novels.

The only available copy of the first book in the series, Northern Lights, was a large-print edition in the children's fiction section. I tracked it down and then stood sheepishly in line behind a guy taking out about 400 books about Billy the Big Red Fire Engine for his two 4 year old daughters. I must've been showing my discomfort because the librarian behind the desk which came up to my knees (presumably so little kids could see over it) gave me a smile and said conspiratorily, "This one's well worth venturing into the children's section."

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