Interlibrary loan is a tricky thing. They fetch the book for you, in this case from the local Quaker college. They hand it over to you, for free, but with a warning that "This title cannot be renewed."
I may have gotten too used to my library's 8-renewals policy to be able to live with that steel-toed phrase, "may not be renewed." And the book itself is a doorstop-sized burden, not something you would want to drag along for your wait at the doctor's office. Nor is it something you can finish in three weeks if you were struggling along with another book and got started late on this one.
Nor am I likely to finish it when, as I turn its pages, my mind wanders to more interesting things like, say, eating unsalted crackers.
It's a biography. The subject created a ripple in her day. She traveled in the same circles as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Horace Greeley. The author who wrote about her won awards for bringing to life the subject's "dramatic mixture of inward struggles, intimate social life, and deep engagements with the major movements of her time."
I hate to miss out on the story of someone who might have been important. Next time I found myself trapped in a dinner party with academics, I might have been able to run in their fast company. I believe, though, that the Quaker library is going to get their book back with hardly any finger smudges of mine in its margins. Come to think of it, the book's spine feels rather firm, as if it hasn't been opened much.
So if I have to account to you for how I spent my time while in possession of this book, I will tell you that I made:
Chocolate Mint Torte