Sunday, March 08, 2009

News from the Invisible Library!

{Photo by rocketlass.}

The past week saw two developments that will be of note to fans and ostensible patrons of the Invisible Library:

1 A friend who works as a librarian in a major non-invisible municipal library system received an interlibrary loan request from a patron in search of My Parents Didn't Steal an Elephant, by Uriah C. Lasso. On failing to find the book in any of his normal databases, my friend did a quick Google search . . . which revealed it--as he explained to his astonished patron--to be an invisible book!

My Parents Didn't Steal an Elephant, he realized, was a book lent by Carla, a school counselor, to the protagonist of Louis Sachar's There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom (1988). Given that Carla lends another character a copy of J. D. Salinger's very much not invisible Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, it's easy to understand how the patron became confused . . . and thus missed the clue embedded in the fact that Uriah C. Lasso is an anagram of Louis Sachar.

Rest assured, patron: the Invisible Library now has the book on its shelves. Now if only we can figure out how to fill out the Interlibrary Loan paperwork . . .

2 Intervening Absence, the impressive new book of poetry that my friend Carrie Olivia Adams has just published, offers in its pages no fewer than nine new invisible books!

Featured in the poem "Works Cited," a part of the sequence "On Leaving: An Essay," the titles include Luna Moth's A Short Short, Boxed Parrot's Green Under Closed Lids, Woman Who Re-Reads Your Letters's Memoirs of a Scab Picker, and others that you'll have to visit the Invisible Library to see.

The sequence "On Leaving: An Essay" also includes a line that makes me shiver every time I read it, one of those rare lines that, the moment it is read, takes on the force of an previously unglimpsed truth:
Hands ask what eyes can't. They lead the leaving.
True in life, and in the Invisible Library as well, where eyes will avail you not. Hands, ranged over dusty shelves in the darkness, perhaps. Trust your fingers to know what they're after.


  1. I remember "My Parents Didn't Steal an Elephant". Quite a good read. Then again, I don't think I was clever enough to figure out the anagram game. I can't wait until I visit the invisible library. There must be some great books there by now.

  2. Jorges Luis Borges, author of "The Babylon Library" and other mind-benders, would rather enjoy the invisible library concept.