As I continue plodding through The Recognitions, I've noticed that it is, like The Sot-Weed Factor, quite anonymous. But, I've had one or two people recognize the title, and I've had several people say they've heard of author William Gaddis, so that already makes it a better known title than Barth's book, but nonetheless, few seem to be aware of it.
I then noticed on the copy I have out from the Calgary Public Library, that it was first stamped into circulation on October 15, 1975. Not only was it stamped the same day that President Ford was involved in a fender bender in Hartford, it also still has the card catalogue information on the inside cover. The typewriter font tells me the author's name and birth year, as well as the title and publisher; offering me amazing cross referencing capabilities. Sadly there isn't the envelope on the back cover letting me know who took it out and when. The book also doesn't have an ISBN, joining The Day of the Locust and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as books that predated the computer age.
But while all of this is quite nostalgic journey through the library procedures of yesteryear, it leaves me wondering about the book itself. Sure, it finds itself on a list of 'all-time' novels, but it's been borrowed so few times, the Calgary Public Library has been able to keep it in circulation, albeit with a few tears, longer than I've been in circulation. I've read that on average, a book can be loaned 25 times before it needs to be replaced, which would mean this copy of The Recognitions has been loaned out no more than every 18 months, for the past 37 years. I'm going to assume it's another hidden gem, waiting for more people like me to discover its brilliance. Instead of a book so repugnant, it's been borrowed fewer times than To The Lighthouse.