As a former Library Studies student and now a Library Assistant I have often heard stories which have become akin to urban legends in the library world. The biggest of these is the patron (or client, customer, member, insert synonym-which-is-acceptable-to-use-when-describing-the-users-of-the-library here) who approaches the desk and enquires about a book they may have borrowed or browsed in the past and when prompted for further details on said book says something like “Well i don’t remember what it was called or who wrote it, but I think it was blue?”.
This is baffling to library staff (probably book store staff also) because A. depending on the size of the library we could have anywhere from dozens to hundreds or even thousands of books with a blue cover and B. unlike titles, authors, publication information or even vague keywords, the colour of the cover is not something we can generally search for and unless the library is very tiny its hard to remember all books of a particular colour we have seen come in.
I have personally never encountered the fabled Blue Book Enquirer, but I have helped many patrons who could remember very little about a book they need or want and I have noticed that cover colour and decoration are often what sticks. Because of this and my already established love of cover art, I usually am keen to notice what incoming books, or popular books look like, just in case. Who knows, perhaps one day a patron will come in with a life or death situation which requires a very rare book which they have only ever seen in this library and they have recently suffered a strangely specific form of amnesia where they cannot remember any details about things in their life pre-amnesia except colours, and my recollection of the textbook with a chartreuse cover and teal stripes could be the very moment that saves their life! Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch but better safe than sorry right?
Anyway, because of this I generally pay attention to book covers in my day to day life, and especially the ones I’m reading (so much so that I try and pick the bookmark out of my bookmark collection that best matches the book I’m using it in…..shut up) and when all or some of the books are the same colour…I get a tad excited. This happened to me recently when I was after a few quick reads around my birthday and coincidentally the four books I chose had predominantly blue covers.
It all started funnily enough with a graphic novel called Blue by Pat Grant. I was feeling a little bored with my current reads and just wanted something I could read in one sitting so i visited my local library and picked up a few novels (to get to later) and a few graphic novels. I chose to read Blue because the cover and inside art attracted me, I had never heard of it before and the other two graphic novels were volumes 2 and 7 of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and since I have never read the series in its entirety i wanted to go in order. Blue was an interesting and quirky little graphic novel that I read from cover to cover that afternoon, and it broke me out of my reading rut. The story explored racism and localism in a small coastal Australian town told through a trio of surfer teens, but the really interesting thing about it was how the race or races which were discriminated against were instead strange tentacled creatures with blue skin who doodled childlike yet intricate graffiti all over the town. The artwork was also really beautiful with hand lettering and ink-work completely in gray-scale with touches of blue. If you want to know more simply go to Pat Grants website, but I will also do a quick review at some point.
After finishing Blue I was still in the mood for another short read, and then I remembered that I still had The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss sitting on my desk since I received around my last birthday! Since my birthday was only a few days away I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that I had gone almost a year without reading a picture book which even 6-year-old me would’ve devoured immediately, so I quickly rectified this. As is to be expected from Dr Seuss the stories were a delight and even though I only dipped in in between doing other tasks around the house I had read them all within an hour or so (and I will also post a small review of them eventually). It was at this point that I noticed that both books were quite blue (as you can see) but as there was only two of them it was quite a small coincidence.
A few days later, on my birthday I stopped off at a few shops in Leederville (a hip suburb in Perth where I’m currently working) to buy myself some birthday presents. One of these shops was Oxford St Books one of my favourite book stores. After a very thorough browsing I left with City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (which is the forth Mortal Instruments book and the one I’m up to); Curses and Blessings For All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive (author of another blue number – The Blue Day Book and other funny little gift books featuring captioned animals)
and The Templeton Twins: Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner.
I enjoyed Curses and Blessings For All Occasions that afternoon and evening and had a good giggle (again I’ll post a brief review soon) and then read The Templeton Twins (which was a hilarious children’s adventure in the vein of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, filled with lovely black, white and blue illustrations – review to follow) on the bus to and from work over the next two days. By then I was so chuffed by my collection of short, blue reads that I just had to share it with you, my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂
I hope you enjoyed my rambling and, as always: