Our featured Reviewer for August 2014 is Sam N. Sam currently works at the Gere Branch Library. Her reviews have appeared regularly on the Staff Recommendations pages of the BookGuide web site, and on the Staff Recommendations display at Bennett Martin Public Library, starting in January 2014. Sam’s been an enthusiastic reader for many years, as you’ll 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 was born and raised here in Lincoln. I graduated from Southwest High School, attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for undergrad with a major in sociology, and received my Master’s of library and information science from the University of Missouri in July of 2013. My favorite books growing up were the Harry Potter books. Of course, they still are :). I read the first four books more than 50 times and I fondly recall my mom telling me once that I needed to stop reading so much. I may be the only person who has ever heard that from a parent.
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”?
Has there been any book or author that “changed your life” or strongly influenced you? I’ve been an active reader since I picked up the first Harry Potter book in second grade. I never lost my love for reading like a lot of people did during their high school years (sadly, this does not mean that I was any more interested than anyone else in a lot of the classics that were thrust upon us in English classes). J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien were the ones that really made me appreciate good literature.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
Books and reading are very important to me. I read well over 100 books a year. It’s a great way to relax and I can’t imagine not wanting or liking to read. I tell people who don’t like to read that they just have yet to find the right book. When it’s cold or rainy, there’s nothing better than having a nice cup of tea and reading a book!
How do you select what books to read next? What formats do you prefer (book, ebook, audiobook, etc.)?
I use Goodreads and suggestions from friends/family/patrons/colleagues to determine what I will read next. Goodreads sends out a monthly newsletter with new releases from authors I’ve read, as well as for my favorite genres, so I can stay up to date. I prefer books to all other formats, though I do have a Kindle Fire. I just like the feeling of holding a book in my hands.
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
I’m pretty bad at writing reviews because I’m not known for my summarizing skills. I talk a lot and it carries over into my writing. However, reader’s advisory is one of my very favorite parts of the job and I love sharing with others the books I’m reading, because if the book is making me happy, then it’s likely to make someone else that way, too! Who wouldn’t want to share that if they had the opportunity to do so?
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’ve had a library card since I was very young, maybe 6 or 7? I originally used Gere Branch as my main library, but switched to the Walt Branch when that opened. I did my practicum at Walt, so I worked there for 90 hours. I’ve been employed at LCL since November 2013 and I work at Gere Branch. I bought a house just a few blocks away from Gere in January 2014, so it’s perfect. I love that it’s not your stereotypical quiet library and we get a very diverse group of patrons. I’ve also spent some time working at Eiseley, South, Bethany, and Anderson Branches.
Are there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you’d like to share with our readers?
I was always the nerd who dressed up and went to the Harry Potter midnight releases of the book (well, at least books 4-7 because before that I wasn’t really old enough) and who attended the midnight showings of the movies. Also, while I’m a huge proponent of reading the book before watching the movie, I only read Lord of the Rings because I thought the first movie was wicked awesome. Turns out, the books were even better!
Do you have a favorite literary-related website you like to visit or that you’d like to recommend?
Goodreads is the literary website I utilize the most. It helps me keep track of the books I read, and allows me to find all sorts of new books to read. I can also see what my friends are reading. Without Goodreads, I think I’d be lost.
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
While I would love to say J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien, I feel like their stories aren’t for everyone. It’s too daunting for some to get wrapped up in such detailed worlds. I understand that in theory, though I will always try to urge people that way if there’s a shot they’ll like it ;). So, while they are two of the authors I respect most, I am going to go with another author I hold in very high regard – John Green. His books may be of the young adult genre, but they appeal to people in all age groups. Each book is a stand alone book with an interesting cast of characters to keep you on your toes. He’s not afraid to break the reader’s heart, but the only reason the reader’s heart has a chance to break is because we become so attached to the humor, intelligence, and wit that many of his characters possess. I’ve read all the books he has out and they’re each just fantastic, though The Fault in Our Stars is definitely the best!
Posted to the BookGuide site in September 2014 | Last updated in March 2016 sdc