Library literotica--I had no idea! I discovered this book when I was invited to appear on a panel with the author and looked her up, as most any librarian would. I immediately checked NYPL and was pleased to see Mid-Manhattan had three copies of the micropublished book. The whole story of how the book got published is fascinating, but I'll leave it to you to get into it. To me the craziest thing about the book is that Weist began it as part of a sculptural installation project for Cooper Union, where she got her BA. It's a little slim at 141 pages, but it's good. Weist is a good writer. It's kind of unfair, really. She's an outrageously articulate speaker, an inspired artist, skilled techie (digital archivist), and super young.
The semi-autobiographical story is that of artist librarian Audrey Reed's sexual and bibliographic adventures in Rochester, Minnesota, where she goes to escape sexual, romantic and other demons in NYC. It's an erotic romance novel with enough true-to-life library details to make it doubly pornful to people of my persuasion. As erotica/romance the strongest elements aren't the plot or even highly believable character development, for me the compelling parts are the library details and deft language.
Like this: "He didn't reply, but it looked like he was trying to swallow a squirrel. He stood and moved to her so quickly, she almost didn't register any time passing between the squirrel-swallowing and their first kiss. For a moment she was so startled she half expected to taste fur and nuts." I don't know about you, but I was totally there with her on that one.
Reed comes across, and I'm sorry if this is what all other reviewers have said, but it's hard to avoid, as a Carrie Bradshaw/Samantha Jones mashup, if she/they were 10 years younger and a librarian. Smart, sexual, sophisticated, up on all the hip NYC happenings, and definitely a Sunday bruncher. And she name drops Sandy Berman! "She had always taken an ardent, oppositional stance to the use of this kind of post-colonial vocabulary [SCULPTURE, PRIMITIVE] a la Sanford Berman..."
I also love this vision of a library, "...like a science fiction novel: a mix of somber rapture and future history." And observations like "I quickly learned that romance novels have the shortest shelf life of any subcategory of popular fiction. The romances I withdrew were almost instantly replaced with new love stories; there was an intense consumptive drive for fresh titles. It seemed that the community's appetite for the genre was never satisfied, and yet never discouraged." also pleased me immensely. I think Sexy Librarian will endure much longer than the typical romance.
At times it was clear to Audrey that the Dewey Decimal system had subtly transformed her life approach. Her belongings were so perfectly classified and categorized by some subconscious information science system that the entire house had come together in the matter of a morning. The items in the last room she was tackling, the kitchen, were now almost completely organized by potential usage. Multi-purpose tools like the blender were centrally shelved between breakfast implements and cocktail hour accessories, a cross-reference between the smoothie and the piña-colada.