Friday, February 11, 2005

Dreaming About A Library

In my dream, I go to the local public library in my little city here in South Korea. In one version, I find a large English-language books section, complete with comfortable couches and chairs (the comfortable couches and chairs part REALLY is fantasy) and settle down happily for hours, reading.

In the other version of this fantasy, there are only one or two English language books. One is a yellowed, beat-up copy of a Harold Robbins paperback. The other is a computer manual. The director of the library comes out to talk to me and apologizes for not having a better selection (since it's my fantasy, he speaks perfect English with a slight British accent), and tells me that it is the dearest wish of his heart to expand the English-language section of his library and make it something that expats and Koreans interested in learning English would flock to. Alas, he hasn't the time or the funds...if only there was someone who really loved books who would be willing...




Trying not to jump up and down, I humbly offer the director my time and services, and promise to be in touch.

Once back in my apartment, I turn into a bibliophile whirlwind.  I send email to everyone I know: family, friends and acquaintances, shamelessly begging for books for this worthy cause. Within days, m-bags and Manila envelopes start arriving, and all the books are beautiful copies of trade paperbacks or hardcovers that still have that new creaking noise when the cover is opened. I briefly consider being a naughty girl and keeping the goods all for myself, but then I give myself a mental shake and follow through with my plan.

Bit by bit, I bring the books to the library. (For some reason, in my dream, I'm still taking the bus. WTF?) The director is so pleased but a little alarmed at how fast the collection is growing. Happily, he discovers a sizeable unused alcove in the library that would be perfect for this new and improved section of books. This, in time, is named (over my protests) "The Bybee Wing".

Word gets out, and book-loving expats and Korean lovers of English start coming into the library from as far as Seoul and Busan. The English-language Korean newspapers get wind of it, and there's a huge article in both Sunday papers, praising the library for being so innovative and enthusiastic about reaching out to foreigners and promoting cultural harmony. One of the newspapers hires me to write a weekly book review column.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with sex at the end? Perhaps Shanghai and Manfred Jr. could get it on. All night long!