I'd gone to the library with the intent of returning one audio book (a biography of Beethoven, which resulted in my learning that late in life the composer picked up a habit of compulsively spitting, which would be enough to get him banned from my home even if you don't mind the celebrity ego-fueled rages and compulsive cheating of people for money. (Two centuries of death don't help matters either; I have enough undead composers hanging around.) I went to the county's head library, as a more generally interesting place and as one with more intriguingly obscure books. It's not as good as a university library, but it's got its appeals. So in almost no time I was building my already intimidating reading backlog into something vastly worse. Is it my fault they keep putting out new and fascinating books?
Besides a couple of written books, and a couple of audio books, I also borrowed a videotape, for the first time in ages. It was tucked away in the 700s somewhere, and trapped in one of those shells that can't be opened. The librarian showed how to get the clamshell open, by using a pen to pry open the tab which is, of course, on the bottom of the case. Can you imagine how successful prerecorded videotapes might have been if they didn't all open with the bottom open so the tape falls on your foot when you move it around? She also told me all of this stuff was due back in three weeks, the videotape included.
The normal lending time on DVDs is three days, and I'd assumed that was true of videotapes, so I guessed the librarian had looked at the book stuffs that were due in three weeks and didn't notice the tape's due date. But she checked and confirmed. She explained the videotape was treated as a book and so was filed under nonfiction.
The videotape was an episode of Doctor Who. It may be enjoyable; I may not know for as much as three weeks. But if Doctor Who is nonfiction we're all in a lot of trouble.
Trivia: Inventor James Watt's father built the first known crane for the unloading of tobacco in his hometown of Greenock, Scotland. Source: The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made The Future, Jenny Uglow.
Currently Reading: The Manhattan Project: Big Science and the Atom Bomb, Jeff Hughes. This is an odd little book: it's a hardcover, and yet it's the dimensions of a paperback. A slender paperback. It's very recent (published 2002), too. It's a college press run, though, so I suppose it exists in a strange universe of its own. It's still disconcerting to come across, like the time in high school when I discovered Star Trek 7 in the school library, which considering this was before even The Final Frontier came out was a bit of a shock.