Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Do Librarians Read? Part One

It might go without saying that librarians (and library support staff - we answer to "librarian", but in truth we go by many titles) like books! Library workers are encouraged to read (though not at work), and to have a working knowledge of the library's holdings - helpful for book recommendations, book clubs, and the like. With that in mind, and inspired by an article from Book Riot (because when we're not reading books, we're reading about reading books), we asked a smattering ABC Librarians to share their reading habits, including:

1. What I'm reading now
2. What's on my to-be-read list
3. How I choose my next book
4. Favorite book to recommend

Here are their responses!


1. What I'm reading now: I'm currently reading The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski, Sure Signs by Ted Kooser, and The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley.

2. What's on my to-be-read list: My to-be read list is really big. Here are the next five on the list:
    A. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
    B. Like No Other by Una LaMarche
    C. Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
    D. Caged Warrior by Alan Sitomer
    E. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (this one's a re-read)

3. How I choose my next book: I'm currently choosing my next book based on a list of books I have to read for a paper that I'm writing for YALSA. Typically, though, I choose my next book based primarily on my mood.

4. Favorite book to recommend: My favorite book to recommend is The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. It has an amazing opening chapter, and I just really loved it.


1. What I'm reading now: Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice

2. What's on my to-be-read list: Next up is Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers, by Alexander McCall Smith

3. How I choose my next book: Either choose something new by a favorite author or try something I saw a good cover for - I will initially judge a book by its cover, but follow up with a read of the jacket description before I commit

4. Favorite book to recommend: I love to recommend The Caliph's House, by Tahir Shah; it's the entertaining story about a London man who buys a run-down house in Morocco, and the year-long struggle to refurbish it to its former glory - it's educational and funny; never a dull moment


1. What I'm reading now: Revival, by Stephen King

2. What's on my to-be-read list: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

3. How I choose my next book: Favorite author, interesting return coming down the rollers, word of mouth

4. Favorite book to recommend: Depends way too much on who I'm recommending it to


1. What I'm reading now: I’m reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I just started it, and it’s been some time since I put it on hold, so I can’t remember much about it! But, I think this says it all:  STEP INTO A UNIVERSE OF DARING ADVENTURE, THRILLING POWER, AND MULTIPLE LONDONS.

2. What's on my to-be-read list: So many books, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind: A Dangerous Place (Jacqueline Winspear), Blackout (Connie Willis), As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Alan Bradley), The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), Chew vol. 8 & 9 (John Layman and Rob Guillory)

3. How I choose my next book: I follow a few different libraries on social media which adds to recommendations from my colleagues. I also read reviews from NPR, Slate, Wired, io9, and a few other places. And, I look for new books from my auto-read authors.

4. Favorite book to recommend: I like to recommend The Dog Stars (Peter Heller) and To Say Nothing of the Dog, or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last (Connie Willis) for very different reasons. One makes me laugh just to think of, and the other affected me so deeply during the read that I still think about it a year later.


1. What I'm reading now: I’m reading Without You There is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim and just listened to Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson (Audiobook)

2. What's on my to-be-read list: Next up is Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar
3. How I choose my next book: I choose books to read by NPR reviews, through book ordering, and checking in other peoples’ holds!

4. Favorite book to recommend: No real favorites - I read a lot of nonfiction about Afghanistan, North Korea and the Middle East because I think we ought to know what the history there is. Things that have relevance to current events - like Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. And about once a year I go back and reread To Kill a Mockingbird because it just is such an amazing and thoughtful piece of literature to me.


1. What I'm reading now: The Whites, Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt

2. What's on my to-be-read list: Night at the Fiestas, Kirstin Valdez Quade
    World Gone By, Dennis Lehane
   Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon

3. How I choose my next book: New and Recently Released Library List, New York Times Book Review

4. Favorite book to recommend: A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan


1. What I'm reading now: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth; A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody; Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott

2. What's on my to-be-read list: The "Want" list I've created in my library account has 95 items, but I'll just list the ones that sound most interesting right now - The Wicked + The Divine: Vol. 1, The Faust Act by Kieren Gillen; 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater by Sarah Ruhl; Life, On the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas; A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 by Victoria Wilson; My Struggle: Book Three - Boyhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard

3. How I choose my next book: I'm not doing any reading challenges right now, but sometimes those are a great way to put some variety into your reading (or just get you through your TBR pile).  A good site to find lists of book challenges is An Adventure in Reading. I once did a challenge called "Take a Chance" that listed some unusual methods of selecting your next read - very fun!

4. Favorite book to recommend: Tana French and Donna Leon if they like mysteries; Alice Munro, because I think short stories get short shrift by a lot of readers, and hers are some of the best; Fruits by Shoichi Aoki for arty types; Finn Family Moomintroll and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend for the young at heart; The Who, The What, and The When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History compiled by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe is a light read, but illuminating; "They Call Me Naughty Lola": Personal Ads From the London Review of Books edited by David Rose and The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell for fellow Anglophiles; and if they like graphic novels, Bad Houses by Sara Ryan or Air 1: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson.

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