Friday 10 November 2023

Demon Copperhead: The Curse of a Popular Book

    I always enjoyed reading Dicken’s David Copperfield, and I always liked Barbara Kingsolver’s novels, so many many months ago, when I discovered that Kingsolver had just released a new novel that roughly followed the plot of David Copperfield, but in modern times and set it in the Appalachia, I was very eager to read it. 

    I like reading novels as eBooks, so I went to the Libby App, (associated with our library), found the book, but it was already on “Hold” to a score of people, so all I could do was put it on “Hold” for myself too, and hoped that I wouldn’t have to wait too long for it to become available.  In the mean time I went on to read other books, and sort of forgot about it.

    Eventually I was informed that my name finally got to the top of the Hold Lis, and it was available for me to read, so I downloaded it and started.  I was immediately smitten.  The novel was very humorous, insightful, witty, and entertaining.  I loved its relationship to David Copperfield, and enjoyed figuring out which characters in Copperhead were based on which characters Copperfield.  Often the names gave a clue, but usually you could just figure it out.  

    In Copperfield, poor orphaned David was forced into horrible jobs under cruel bosses, and it is the same in Copperhead, however the exploitation is updated into modern times.  Dickens has always been known for his unusual characters, and Kingsolver’s cast in the novel is full of them too, only modern versions.

    I was really into the novel when suddenly one evening, as I was reading it in Libby, “Swoosh,” the downloaded version expired, and disappeared from my iPad.  I rushed back to the Libby App to try to renew it, but again the novel’s popularity, prevented it.  There were seven more “Holds” in the lineup before I could get it back to finish reading it.

    A few days later when I was in the McBride Library, I sought to check out the physical book version of Demon Copperhead, but it was already checked out, so all I could do was put a “Hold” on it for myself, so I was back to waiting.

    I praised the book to a friend in North Carolina, and he also became keen to read it, but he too ran into the same problem:  “Not Available” 22 Borrowers waiting for 6 copies.  “Place a Hold”.

    As the weeks for me passed, I went on to read other novels, but I really wanted to get back to Demon Copperhead

    Yesterday, I was up in Prince George for a service on my car and had time to kill, so I walked over to the Prince George Library, hoping to maybe find a copy of Demon Copperhead there that I could check out, but as you might expect, their copies were all checked out.  The library assistant did find a set of the novel, to be only used for book clubs, and although I wasn’t able to check one out, she did allow me to read it for a couple of hours while I was waiting in the library for my car to be fixed.

    I began reading on a couple of chapters I had already read, just to refresh memory as to what was happening in Demon’s life, before starting on the unread chapters.  I was able read two more new chapters further into the book, before I had to leave it behind and return to check on my car.

    Last night, when I was back home, I was still very eager to read, and so I checked the “Hold” list for the book in Libby, and seeing that there were still seven more people in line before it got to me, I just went to Apple Books and bought the eBook version of Demon Copperhead, and downloaded it, which I guess was the whole goal of the publisher, who purposely restrict libraries from getting an adequate number of copies, and only use it for a limited time.

    Anyway, I now have my own copy of Demon Copperhead on all my devices, and can read it to the end.

Note:  the afternoon after I wrote this blog, I went to the library and discovered that my "Hold" of the book had just arrived, albeit too late because I had already bought a copy.

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