I can still remember the thrill I had as a child when the bookmobile stopped nearby for the very first time. I could read anything I wanted! That thrill has never really gone away. There’s always something interesting going on in a book. I love mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, history, travel, books about animals or physics or restoring a house in Seville…and if it’s funny, I just settled this evening’s plans. Working at the library means I never have to settle for the back of the cereal box again.
Reading is my superpower, according to my coffee mug. I get my caffeine fix, and make a statement about how important reading is to me. I can’t remember not being able to read—to me it’s like breathing—necessary for life! I’ll read anything in a pinch, including any and all packaging (cereal boxes included), but I prefer fiction. I love literary fiction, women’s fiction and mysteries or suspense with a focus on character (Elizabeth George, Louise Penny); Southern writers for their strong sense of place and lyrical prose (Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg, Lee Smith); coming of age novels (To Kill a Mockingbird, Boy’s Life); and classics. I also read historical fiction, fantasy and a little science fiction. When I read nonfiction, I prefer essays on nature and gardening (Sy Montgomery, Michael Pollan, Henry Mitchell), and books on travel, cookery and sewing. One of the great things about working in a library is I’m surrounded by other bibliophiles—I love to hear what others are reading so I can add to my “to read” list!
Destined to become a librarian? Probably: I cataloged my books—including all umpteen Nancy Drew mysteries—when I was in 4th grade. These days you’ll find me reading tons of nonfiction, especially the narrative stuff with a storyline that reads like fiction. I’ll read nonfiction about nearly any topic, but books about presidential history, aviation, journalists, popular sociology, adventure, and historic tragic events most often populate my reading list. I’m also a mystery reader, drawn to private investigator first-person narratives and police procedurals. Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery series is my current favorite. I also like contemporary fiction, especially the types of books that are discussable for book clubs.
I grew up loving to read and can remember many trips to the library. Working in a library was definitely an easy career choice for me to make. I now read chick lit, contemporary fiction, and books about women’s lives. I enjoy books with a bittersweet tone and if the story can make me laugh or cry I’m hooked. A new favorite of mine is historical fiction and one example is Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell. A good gentle read will lighten my mood. Also on my list is Christian fiction, psychological fiction, a good series, and mysteries. The Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich is my favorite. I prefer my mysteries on the lighter side but will also read a thriller or a suspenseful story. I love listening to audiobooks and will often choose a book based on the narrator. Authors Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett do a wonderful job narrating their books. Occasionally I’ll read some nonfiction, autobiographies, memoirs, travel writing, though I prefer nonfiction that reads like fiction.
I’m a book grazer, reading a few books at a time and always looking for more. I read everything from young adult fantasy stories to mysteries, funny nonfiction to cookbooks. I love books with a sense of humor and crisp writing. As the Young Adult Librarian, you can find me at the Adult Services desk, setting up teen book displays or running teen events. My eclectic mix of favorite writers includes Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury, Rainbow Rowell, Bill Bryson, Shannon Hale, Ruth Reichl, Ben Aaronovitch, and Molly Harper.
Reading book review journals for my job ensures that my “To Read” list keeps getting longer every day. I read mostly fiction, though I’ll read nonfiction if it is something that interests me. I’m generally perceived to be the “quirky books” reader, and guilty as charged. I like weird and snarky if it’s written well. Loved Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, Ramsland’s Doghead, and Good Omens by Gaiman/Pratchett. I will read anything contemporary or historical (literary or genre) if I like the writing and mood, especially books taking place in colder climates (quirky!) A vacation in either Bali or Finland? No contest, I’d head north every time. I also like mysteries (I’ve read everything by P.D. James and Louise Penny) and psychological suspense, with the odd thriller thrown in. I love the Charlie Parker series by John Connelly and I enjoy the occasional ghost/horror novel, but have my standards—no zombies, boring and devoid of personality! Dark and gloomy I like, a la Karen Maitland. Not much one for chick-lit or romance and I rarely read fantasy or science fiction (unless required to by work), but I never say never.
I confess, I did not grow up with a love for books. In my youth I struggled with focusing and retaining the material in them; therefore, books intimidated me. And now I’m surrounded by them!!! So then, how do you not fall in love with or want to read them?!! In my adult life, I have found that I love reading psychology books written from a religious aspect. I especially favor books authored by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. A couple of my favorites are Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life and Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give up in Order to Move Forward, both by Henry Cloud. I also like to read books that focus on leadership training, such as The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping-Stones for Success, and Becoming a Person of Influence, which were all written by John C. Maxwell. And most recently, I’ve discovered that I enjoy reading biographies for four reasons: they promote self-discovery, they allow you to see the world in new ways, and can sometimes serve as an inspiration and/or mentors at a distance, and whether you admire or revile the individual they’re about, I personally want to know how a “normal” person became a world-changing figure.
I have been a reader nearly all my life – in fact, I have a vivid memory of when I looked down at the pages of a book and could suddenly read the words for the first time! I gravitate towards books that deal with tough topics such as mental health, family dynamics, self-identity, sociopolitical issues, and religion; those topics dominate both my fiction and nonfiction reading. When I need a break from more serious topics, I look for a good love story, or step into the realm of magic and the paranormal. I also enjoy history and historical fiction, as well as family sagas or novels that follow one character throughout their life. Two of my favorite books are White Teeth by Zadie Smith and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, both family sagas with complex characters, but one being contemporary (White Teeth) and the other historical (The Thorn Birds). Character is what matters to me most, even in nonfiction! I like to “meet” people through my reading and learn about their lives, and the more connected I feel, the more likely I am to love the book.