Man vexed by 30 years of guilt returns library book, fines self


From Arizona Nearly 30 years ago, Brian Cogley checked out a book from the Donaldson Elementary School library and he finally got around to returning it last week.
Cogley, 39, borrowed "The Great Brain," written by John Fitzgerald, from the library as a fourth-grader sometime during the 1977-1978 school year with the intention of holding on to it for good.
"I really liked it," Cogley said by phone from Oakland, Calif. "As a kid, it was kind of twisted and dark and I was amused by it. I wanted to keep it."


I am not the person in the story but I have my own Great Brain tale. In fourth grade we had a book fair that allowed each student to select one book that we could keep. I selected "The Great Brain at the Academy." I had not read any of the books in the series at that point. The cover was what caught my attention. The cover had some boys crouching in a hall keying their way into a door. Mercer Meyer did the cover and the illustrations in the book. I read that book and loved it. I found all the other books in the series at various libraries and read them all. I have a 8 year old daughter and I just finished reading the Great Brian books to her. Each night I would read a chapter. My wife enjoyed the story as much as my daughter. Right now we are finishing the eighth and final book "The Great Brain is Back".

I would never lend my books to this guy. He would not return it for 30 years.

I had a friend who discovered the Great Brain when he was in High School. He didn't care that people laughed at him for reading kids' books. He is now a brain surgeon. Coincidence? I think not.

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