Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lust In The Library? Yeah, Not So Much.

Just look at that cover, and while we're at it?  How about that title?  Short skirt, cute shoes, excellent hosiery = librarians being naughty.  It's probably a given since I'm currently employed in the most stereotyped profession on the planet that I like to read books, especially erotica, where stereotypes are turned on their head.

So yeah, getting a copy of Lust in the Library by Amelia Fayer just about made my month.  It also didn't hurt matters that Avon sent it to me all special like, with a very flattering promo letter, soft blankie, and a box of chocolates.

My reading so far this year, outside of an older Molly O'Keefe Super, Conor's Way and Rosanne Bitter has been really lackluster.  I had just DNF'ed another book by an author I normally enjoy, when I started debating on what to try next.  I wasn't going to pick this one up.  My good angel was whispering in my ear, "You're not in the mood for erotica right now," but damn it all, my bad angel whispered, "Oh Wendy, it's only a novella - it'll take you like 30 minutes to get through - just read it already."

Next time I see that bad angel I'm punching her in the face.

This novella is essentially two connected short stories following the adventures of Sara (an assistant special collections academic librarian) and Veronica (a student who works at the library).  Things open up with Sara's story as her and Veronica are spying on this hunky academic researcher type that Sara has the hots for but is too brain-dead to do anything about.

The first problem arises when, speculating about Mr. Academic Hunky, Veronica gets the brilliant idea to look up his borrowing history.  OK, besides being a major breach of privacy - I can't think of any library outside of Podunk Middle Of Nowhere, let alone a Frackin' University (!) that keeps track of this.  You want to know why?  Because librarians are the last, and these days only, defenders of your right to privacy.  And most of us don't keep these records because what we don't have we can't share - even when a subpoena is thrown in our faces.  You know what we do keep track of?  What you currently have checked out, right now, this minute, and anything you didn't return on time.  When there is money attached, we keep track.  Otherwise?  Yeah, we don't.  We just don't

The irony being that a lot of people DO want us to keep track because apparently keeping a reading log is just so darn taxing!  Ugh, whatever.  Another rant entirely.

So yeah, Veronica tells Sara where to find Mr. Hunky in the library after her fingers do the walking and she prints out (::headdesk, headdesk, headdesk::) his borrowing history (which they shouldn't be keeping track of in the first place!  ARGHHHHH!!!!!).  Sara goes to find him.  They start swapping spit.  He asks her out.  She gets flustered when some students almost catch them groping each other, she then shushes him (::headdesk::) and runs away.  He shows up later that day to take her out and hand to God, this is what she says:
"That was....um...a mistake, I think, and I'm just a librarian and I don't think this can go anywhere and that was just crazy this morning, but lovely, but crazy....."
Yeah.  I'm done.  I'm out.  There's just....ugh!  "Just a librarian?!?!"  Seriously?  "JUST A LIBRARIAN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"  Like him being an academic is such hot shit?  Really?  Really?!?! 

Breathe Wendy.  Breathe.  That's a good girl.  Here, have this shot of whiskey......

But, I thought, why not try to read the second story.  The one featuring Veronica.  Yeah, I got so far as the part where she's working on her thesis to "get into the library science graduate program" and stopped dead.

People, librarians have master's degrees.  To "get into" a library science program you do not need to write a thesis.  You need to have an undergraduate degree in something (seriously, it can be anything from botany to English - it doesn't matter!) and then you need to apply for graduate school, which entails filling out some paperwork and waiting.  Depending on your undergraduate GPA (grade point average) you may or may not have to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). 

You do not have to write a thesis.

You know why someone writes a thesis?  Because they are clearly nuts and want to get a PhD.

That was as far as I got.  I just....couldn't take it anymore.  Coupled with the whole looking up Mr. Hunky's borrowing records.....look, I'm not expecting total library drudgery here.  I'm obviously willing to suspend disbelief and roll with fantasy if I'm reading erotica that takes place in a library (Sure it's a bit different in academia, but most days are golden for me when all the men that walk through the front door have heard of that mysterious substance called "soap" and actually used some....that day, not last month sometime).

Seriously, talk to a librarian.  Most of us are shockingly helpful and more than happy to answer questions.  I even understand that not all librarians are as awesome as I am.  That some librarians are mean and that evolution just hasn't gotten to weeding them out yet.  But hot damn, do you know how many awesome librarians there are on the Internet?  Twitter?  Blogs?  Facebook?  An obscene amount of them, more than willing to answer e-mails from strangers asking questions about librarianship.  And for that matter, do you know how many former and current librarians write romance and/or erotic-stuff?  Dude, are you a member of a writer's group?  A local chapter of RWA?  If there ain't a librarian in your group, sure as shootin' one of them does know a librarian and will pass along some contact information.

So yeah, done.  The sad thing is, some of you are probably wondering how the sex was, and I can't even tell you that because I couldn't force myself to get that far.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I was so annoyed by the lack of accurate library world-building that I wanted to punch someone and/or something.

But, to be fair, this may work for someone with no direct knowledge of librarianship, and far be it from me to say someone cannot enjoy something even though it irritated the hell out of me (Rule #1 in Collection Management: There Is An Audience For Everything.  Examples: Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks /end snark).  In which case, for the sake of giving you another opinion on the matter (because one should never just rely on the Wendy's Frothing At The Mouth Again side of the story) I point you to my fellow SoCalBlogger gal pal Tracy - who reviewed this novella a few weeks back and did get far enough to know how the sex is.


Final Grade = DNF

29 comments:

westcoastsoul said...

I'm in library school right now and in my first semester we talked about the sexy librarian stereotype A LOT. That and the fact that all librarians love cardigans and cats. That one may have a sliver of truth lol.

deerhart23 said...

Ugh, that's even worse because academic librarian jobs are hard to get. They aren't the average run of the mill librarian either and of the ones I have met (I worked in my colleges library and my husband is an acadmic librarian) they would all have taken offense at anyone saying they were just a librarian.

While the hubby loved the cover, think I'll decide not to read the book.

Oh yes, there for some reason seems to be a lot of librarians who have cats. It was a running joke with a lot of my hubby's classmates.

JamiSings said...

*head desk*

I'm just a library clerk, but I'm a dog person, thank you very much.

Heck, you don't even have to know anything about libraries to know we don't keep your history unless you paid for the item as late/lost/rental/hold. You just have to watch some older episodes of Law & Order.

Phyl said...

Whoa, that's one messed up book. Thanks for taking one for the team. JUST a librarian. Gag.

Wendy said...

I kind of dig on the sexy librarian stereotype - mostly because it seems better in my mind than the ancient prude who favors hair buns and sensible shoes.....

Wendy said...

I didn't mention it, but Sara seemed a little young to me for the job she had (5 years out of school). But yeah, these days many, many academic librarians have second master's degrees. Not only that, but in many universities they are considered faculty, with tenure coming into play. Which means writing, research, getting published - yada yada yada.

Wendy said...

If I had a pet I'd definitely fall under the librarian/cat stereotype. Although if I lived alone, I'd definitely consider a dog. A great big dog that sounded like he arrived straight from hell when he barked! LOL

Yeah the keeping track of borrowing history just killed me. Especially after all the brouhaha librarians kicked up when the Patriot Act came into play after 9/11. That like, made the news and stuff.....

Wendy said...

Well, I only sort of half took one for the team since I couldn't bring myself to finish it. My reading this year has just been, not the greatest. I've resolved to get better about DNF'ing things - especially since I seem to be going through a stretch of C-level reading.....

Laura Vivanco said...

I just checked and my local library system does keep track of the last 6 months of my borrowing history. It's in the UK, though.

Lynne Connolly said...

We have undergraduate librarianship degrees in the UK. They're usually combined with archive studies. I wanted to do one, but I was dissuaded. One of the biggest mistakes of my life. I revere and adore librarians and I honestly think they're doing one of the most important jobs on the planet.
Anyway, you see how knowing too much can wreck your enjoyment of a book? I'd probably skip past the points you mentioned, accepting as part of the American librarian system. Like me reading about a woman giving someone a muslin pelisse to keep her warm, or a man taking his landau out for a trip in the country.
Best way for a writer is to assume the reader knows something about a subject and to research the hell out of it.

SandyH said...

Loved your snark about Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks - I cannot read either of them :)

Amy Kathryn said...

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to suspension of disbelief to enjoy a novel. I recently tried to read a book that had the heroine doing something with my profession. DNF for me, too.

Sorry about your bad run. Always a good time to hit the keeper shelf.

Wendy said...

Laura: I did think about that - because "place" wasn't really clearly defined beyond "Academic Library" in the story (at least the parts I managed to read). Different countries have different practices. But according to the author's web site bio, she lives in New England.

Wendy said...

Lynne: Every few years a debate comes up in US Library Land if the master's degree is really the way to go. Why not just make it an undergrad degree and be done with it? The older I get, the more I see the benefit of an undergrad degree in some other subject, then the master's in library science. Honestly, I think it made me a better researcher. Also, since I have a History BA, it made me a better writer (not that you can tell by this blog - ha!)

I tend to be a big Erotica = Fantasy reader, so a librarian getting her groove thang on (at work no less!) I can totally buy into. The library world-building in this case? Yeah, not so much.

Wendy said...

A good chunk of collection management in libraries is about biting your tongue ;) I'd rather be boiled in oil than read either, but a lot of people DO like to read Sparks and Steel. And hey, more power to them. Life is too short to read something you dislike (says me).

Wendy said...

I've got plenty of review books lined up, but I hit the TBR instead for a western. Mostly because that is what sounded good at the moment, and I'm starting to get a little desperate.....

A Library Girl said...

Not just collection management. I'm a cataloger, and my policy is to "bump up" anything to do with current politics, current technology, test prep stuff, etc. - basically, anything time-sensitive - whether or not I actually agree with it. Our patrons shouldn't be subject to my own personal prejudices.

*Goddess* said...

Gotsa be guys coming up with this sexy librarian stereotype because I never gave it a thought! Until I saw Wendy posed for this book cover...;)

westcoastsoul said...

I don't mind it either. Like you said, it's better than the dowdy old maid! My Librarians Without Borders group did a calender and I went all sexy librarian for May haha.

azteclady said...

(((Wendy)))

Natasha A. said...

Totally thought the same thing when I read it!! I couldn't believe some of the stuff...
I was describing the plot to The Mr. and he a) asked if a man had written it, and b) said it reminded him of a p0rn plot!
I was really disappointed and disturbed by this.

Wendy said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Doesn't My Man just wish....

Wendy said...

It's getting better AL :) I pulled a Maggie Osborne out of the TBR to read.....

Wendy said...

The sad thing is, I can't even give an opinion on what I thought of the sexy bits. I just....couldn't read that far.

Natasha A. said...

They were... not the best I have read :)

*Goddess* said...

Your comment got me to thinking, Natasha. I wonder how many men write romances under female names. I know there are couples writing, Tori Carrington comes to mind immediately, but I wonder how many guys solo write them?

Natasha A. said...

@Goddess - You learn something new every day!! I had no idea that Tori Carrington was part male!

nath said...

Ouch, Wendy. Sorry to hear these novellas didn't work for you ^_^; By the way, you don't need to write a thesis to get into a PhD program either. The thesis is usually the end of it.

Wendy said...

Re: Men who write romance, off the top of my head: Leigh Greenwood (westerns), K.N. Casper (category), Wayne Jordan (category), and Laura London (Sharon & Tom Curtis).