Our featured Reviewer for September 2012 is Alyse S. Alyse has worked for the Lincoln City Libraries since 2010. Her reviews have appeared fairly regularly on the Staff Recommendations pages of the BookGuide web site, and on the Staff Recommendations display at Bennett Martin Public Library, starting in September 2010.
Books have long been a part of her life, and she enjoys sharing those works that have had an impact on her…as you can see in her answers to our profile questions:
Would you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, how long you’ve been with the libraries, etc.?
I am from Ogallala – a small town in western Nebraska. I went to a small private elementary school with a VERY small library. However, my school was only a block from the public library so once a week we would walk through the alley to the library. I always looked forward to these weekly visits and never wanted to go back to school when our visit was over. I read all of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and when I finished those I read the series about her daughter, Rose, by Roger Lea MacBride. Other favorite series as a child were the Boxcar Children Mysteries by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Littles by John Peterson and The American Girl Series (Samantha being my favorite).
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. I credit my mom for making me a reader. Being from a small town, I was always excited when we got to go to a larger city to shop. We never got out of town without my mom stopping at the bookstore and buying the newest Berenstain Bears and Little Critter books. She was so excited to get them and read to me and my sisters, that I couldn’t help but be excited, too. One book that has always stuck with me is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have 3 sisters so I identify with the Marsh sisters and love the interactions between Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. I have re-read it at different times in my life and it always brings me back to my childhood and growing up with my sisters.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
Books are very important to me. I always have a novel that I am reading. I do not stick with one genre, but read what sounds interesting to me at the time. I am also usually reading some kind of non-fiction book, whether it be some kind of history book or a book where I can learn a new skill such as knitting, or cookbooks. I also enjoy looking through travel books. Books are entertainment for me as well as a great learning tool.
How do you select what books to read next?
I will often go to bookstore websites to see what new titles are on the horizon. I admittedly get grabbed by the book cover or title and then read the summaries and reviews to figure out if this is something that I would enjoy reading. I also am lucky to have friends that have similar reading interests as me, so often times I grab titles that my friends have suggested. Of course, by working at the library I get recommendations from co-workers and customers.
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
I enjoy writing book reviews because it gives me a chance to really think about how I felt about something. It is nice to take the time to figure out what I really enjoyed about a book and the things that I was not so crazy about. I also like to think that the reviews might help someone find their next great read.
What is your history with the Lincoln City Libraries – how long have you been a customer, and how long have you worked for LCL? Which locations?
I have been an LCL customer for 3 years and have been working for LCL for a little over 2 years. I work at Bennett Martin, but have also been a substitute at the South and Anderson branches.
Do you have a favorite literary-related website you like to visit or that you’d like to recommend?
BarnesandNoble.com — I enjoy this site because I can see what books are coming out and put my name on the Holds List for those titles at the library. I get suggestions for what to read next by looking at what other people who have read a title I enjoyed also bought. .
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
Lisa See. I read my first Lisa See novel a couple of years ago and was really taken by how she focuses on history, culture and family. I am drawn to novels that incorporate important events in history, and her novels include a great deal of Chinese history. See is great at describing the sights and smells of a given location and illustrates well the joys and frustrations found in any human relationship!
Posted to the BookGuide site in September 2012