Story A Day May: Holly’s Recipe for Success

Holly’s Recipe for Success

Head librarian Holly Jahangiri was on the verge of tearing her beautiful hair. Representatives of the male and female dormitories of the earth text Living Library in Council City of the planet Llannonn were in her office issuing an ultimatum.

“Either they go or we go. Consider this a strike,” said The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who represented the female dormitory.

Holly loved her job. She spent most of her days and nights serving as business manager and house mother to people who loved books so much they had each memorized at least one, and lived in the library, where they could be checked out and could recite themselves to anyone who wanted them to.

The trouble was, some of them identified so completely with their text that they made nuisances of themselves to their fellow Books.

“We don’t care what the difference is between French scrambled eggs English scrambled eggs and American scrambled eggs,” said David Copperfield, who represented the males.

Holly had given the cookbooks warnings, individually and as a group, but it hadn’t helped for very long. Gradually, they always began lecturing the other books or arguing with each other, sometimes actually coming to blows.

There wasn’t room in the library to separate the cookbooks from the general population, or she would have tried that.

Holly felt herself being backed into a corner, a corner from which she would have to declare cookbooks out of bounds for the library. But that would put many of the library’s popular cozy mysteries into a gray area, since many of them contained recipes, either in the text or as an appendix. The cozies kept their recipes to themselves, but a case could be made by a cookbook who wanted to challenge the ban.

“Let me think about it,” Holly said, dismissing the books’ Representatives.

Alone, Holly drummed her fingers on her desk, thinking of the afternoon she had been relaxing in the library’s Garden only to be buttonholed by Wilderness Chef, who was adamant in wanting to talk her through building a fire, harvesting vegetables and herbs from the garden — not to mention insects — and creating a meal on the spot. She had retreated precipitously to her office, her afternoon spoiled.

If they just didn’t insist on teaching.

She set up straighter. She stopped drumming her fingers.

There is no one, however important, to whom a librarian does not have access, and Holly had soon spoken to the presidents of the most prestigious culinary schools on Llannonn.

They each said they would be happy to have any cookbooks who cared to come to them — and Holly would see to it that the cookbooks cared to come to them. (No one can be more persuasive than a librarian when her heart is in it.) Employing native Living Books would be much cheaper than hiring actual chefs from Earth and, since Earth cooking was becoming very popular on Llannonn, this seemed a perfect solution.

With a satisfied smile, Holly stood, wrapped her purple feather boa around her neck, and took herself to dinner at a restaurant serving good plain nourishing Llannonninn food.

MY PROMPT TODAY: Too much MasterChef.


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Story A Day May: Holly’s Recipe for Success

  1. Dan Antion

    May 7, 2023 at 7:34am

    Yay – a Holly story! I am laughing at the thought of cookbooks arguing. I had friends at work who argued over whether the bread used for French Toast should be fresh or a little stale. I can only imagine a cookbook! Your voice-to-text feature seems to be working, but I assume it’s still hard to get the mechanics in place to post the story. Thank you for the effort, and I hope you are a two-fisted drinker again soon.

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  2. Holly Jahangiri

    May 7, 2023 at 8:03am

    Oh, Marian! Such a gift you give me every May – and such an unexpected one, this year. I teared up (not my hair) when I saw this in my inbox – in happiness and laughter! (Not sure you know my mom’s name was also Holly, or that she once wrote a cookbook?!)

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  3. acflory

    May 7, 2023 at 5:46pm

    -giggles- Loved this story, Marian. Thank you! I know it can’t have been easy. I hope your wrists are getting better. -hugs-

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    • Author
      • Holly Jahangiri

        May 10, 2023 at 11:53am

        Well? šŸ™‚ Are they getting better? I’m toughing it out for now, but got more info on the surgical options ahead, and was pleasantly surprised by the answers to some of my questions. I’m going to give it another month and re-evaluate.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          May 11, 2023 at 8:56am

          Yes my wrists are getting better but my fingers still get tired easily and they ache a lot. Fortunately I have pain pills that I can take although like you I hesitate to ever take them. I’m glad your surgical options look good. If there’s anything that I can do or say or if you want to bounce off me, you know how to get in touch with me.

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          • Holly Jahangiri

            May 11, 2023 at 11:29am

            I told the surgeon I love him, yesterday. šŸ˜†šŸ˜†šŸ˜† Why? Because if I stop seeing improvement (I still am, though at a glacial pace), he’ll do the surgery – and he uses a soft dressing, not a cast (remember having my ankle in a cast is the first time I ever needed a tranquilizer for a panic attack before I could go play in traffic to get a truck to run it over and free me?) Said I could type the next day just not lift over 5lbs or do heavy housework. I stopped hyperventilating at the thought of it then. šŸ¤£

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  4. Sunita Saldhana

    May 10, 2023 at 8:36am

    This was so much fun to read. I love the idea of living library . And of course Holly had to be in charge!

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  5. Holly Jahangiri

    May 10, 2023 at 11:55am

    Check moderation/spam, please. I sent several readers your way and at least one says she left a comment. (She often ends up in the moat on my blog, too, but I PROMISE Sunita isn’t a spammer. šŸ˜‰ )

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  6. Shilpa Gupte

    May 14, 2023 at 10:03pm

    This is an interesting story, Marian, and now I am imagining books walking around in a library, talking, arguing, laughing, too, mostly at our expense! šŸ™‚
    I hope you feel better soon.

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