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What Would Jane Read? Episode 20: LFL #10521, Arlington, VA

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What Would Jane Read, Episode 20
...in Which Action Figure Jane Austen
Admires a Local Little Free Library's
Bright Blue Color and Small Guard Owl

It was a warm summer afternoon, and Action Figure Jane Austen and I were catching up on some of the local Little Free Libraries we'd missed. We were happy to find this one, #10521, in Arlington, Virginia, not far from our home base in Alexandria.

The first thing Jane and I noticed about this one was its bright blue color, the same bright blue as the trim on the house behind the library. Jane thought the color of the LFL was particularly pleasing against the bright green of the leaves on the abundant trees in the neighborhood.

We liked the hand-lettered "Free Books" sign on the LFL's post; it lent a folksy, welcoming air. And when we reached for the door to open the book house, we found the most charming touch of all: a little brass owl attached to the door, a guard owl. In many cultures, owls are traditionally associated with wisdom and knowledge, so this little owl seems like a fitting guardian for a Little Free Library. And darn cute, too.

(That last sentence was in my words, not Jane's. Jane never says "darn," not unless she is discussing the mending of stockings.)

LFL #10521 was well-supplied with a variety of books. Jane noticed two of them in particular.

A nonfiction book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, perplexed her. This book by Tracy Hogg is subtitled, "How To Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby." Of course, Jane never married or had children of her own. But she is nothing if not a keen observer of life, and in her experience, infants are to be cared for (preferably by the governess) rather than communicated with. Furthermore, in her own day, parents desiring to communicate with their infants, for whatever reason, simply communicated, without benefit of an instruction book. She thought perhaps such books were American oddities, and was surprised when I told her the author was English. So she supposes a desire to learn from a book how to communicate with one's preverbal infant must be an oddity of the current century. But Jane believes in keeping an open mind, and she admits that she is curious about the wisdom Mrs. Hogg might have to impart, though in the end we left the book there in the Little Free Library, so as not to deprive some young mother who is desirous of discourse with her newborn.

A mystery novel, The Orkney Scroll, also caught Action Figure Jane's attention. This is the tenth book in Lyn Hamilton's series of archeological murder mysteries. The story involves faked antique furniture pieces, ancient treasure maps, and a mystery set in Scotland's Orkney Islands, solved by an amateur detective who is an antique dealer in Toronto. Hamilton is known for her humor, and writes in a funny way about the main character's culture shock in the Orkneys. As someone who was born in England in 1775 and is now in the United States 240 years later, in Action Figure form, Jane can certainly relate to feelings of culture shock. She's also tickled at the idea that a piece of furniture made around 1900 could be a priceless antique, and wonders what her own furniture would be worth now, if she could bring it forward in time.

After a while, we finished our speculations, bade goodbye to Little Free Library #10521 and its guardian owl, and drove off, already contemplating our next bookish adventure.


#19 - Quinton, VA - #11989
#18 Wheaton, IL - not numbered
#17 Homewood, IL - #14784
#16 Lafayette, IN - #5514
#15 Taylors, SC - #12893
#14 Greenville, SC - #1368
#13 Baltimore, MD - #9459
#12 Baltimore, MD - #1521
#11 Kings Mountain, NC - #5009
#10 Spartanburg, SC - #12365
#9 Alexandria, VA - #10924
#8 Simpsonville, SC - #9761
#7 Alexandria, VA - not numbered
#6 Alexandria, VA - #4289
#5 Kannapolis, NC - #7277
#4 Newark, DE - #5837
#3 Arlington, VA - #10419
#2 Alexandria, VA - #5491
#1 Alexandria, VA (my own LFL) - #9136

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