I assume that all of you remember the movie, "Groundhog Day", right? In case you don't (and I cannot begin to imagine how that happened) it's a Harold Ramis comedy from 1993 staring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.
The main character, played by Bill Murray, somehow ends up in a time loop and relives the same day over and over and over. Naturally, it changes him from kind of a jerk to a good guy and he wins over Andie McDowell's character once his transformation is complete and then the time loop ends. It used to be one of my favourite movies.
And then the year 2020 came around with the Pandemic and the Great Quarrantine and the Lockdowns and Precautionary Measures and Social Distancing. And now every day feels a lot like the Movie Groundhog Day. So now, I don't love the film quite so much.
And since almost every day feels like almost every other day, anything that breaks up the monotony is welcome! Therefore, when I got the email from the museum where, under normal circumstances I am a docent, asking if I was interested in helping them, out my answer was a very quick and enthusiastic YES!
There is a small gift shop in the Venice Museum and one of the things that always sells quite well there is books. Naturally when the request involved books, I am all over it.
My boss wanted to refresh our book supply and she had a list of roughly a dozen books. Would I like to read them and give her my opinion about whether or not they would be a good choice for the museum gift shop? Would I? Do Bears......? Well we all know what bears do in the woods so yuppers! Not only did I accept this mission, I was raring to go.
I've actually done this sort of thing for the museum before. They know that not only am I a voracious reader, I am also a very fast reader. So whenever there was a question about written material that needs to be reviewed, I am happy to comply. It's very flattering that not only do they comfortable asking me to read the books (or articles or whatever needs being read) they also trust my judgement.
I was very excited to begin so the very next day, mask in place of course, I headed off to the museum with the list, a pen and notebook for taking notes and my trusty library card. Here was my plan. I would look up each book and see if the library actually had it. If so, I would, literally, check it out. If not, I would look up the author and see if the library carried any other work by that author so I could, if nothing else, get the jist of their writing style. It seemed like a really good plan.
Right up until I (eventually) learned that the library did not carry one single book on the list. Not One. I painstakingly looked up every single book and the authors of those books and....nothin' . Well wait no, that's not quite true. The library did have on it's shelves a different book by Dave Barry but I already knew his work anyway.
But doesn't that seem strange? The odds seem against that don't you think? Ratz. So, rather than waste the trip, I looked for other books on the same topics as the ones on the list and found a lot of dreck, but there were three books that looked interesting to me. These books were NOT on the list, nor were their authors but hey, why not, take them home and give them a read. Eventually.
First I had to find a different way to review the books on the list. This is when having a computer is a very handy thing. I went to Amazon where I was able to find all but one of the books on the list. And there was information about the books like reviews, a synopsis AND that very cool "Look inside" thing where I was able to actually read a little bit of the book. It wasn't perfect, but it was enough to give me a feel for each book.
I took notes on every book then typed up my findings and sent them off. My original mission was accomplished. But there were still the 3 other books that I found and brought home!
Since I was trying to stay true to the original list of books, all of them were about the history of Florida and in fact, one of them was a photo essay book about Venice specifically (and it was wonderful). Last weekend it rained nearly all day both days so I got in a lot of reading time. In fact, I was able to read two of the three books. I wrote up reviews on them too and sent them in.
Now I have the final book that I selected yet to go. I am not in a rush. I know that I'll get to it in plenty of time before it is due back. I can already tell (just from perusing the first few pages) that it's going to be a good one. And if I am right, even though it's not on the list, I will recommend that one as well.
I think I'm not racing to finish this book because then the project really will be done and it'll be back to Groundhog Day. I'm kinda dragging my feet a bit, trying to make it last as long as possible.
I need a new project!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.