Our featured Reviewer for September 2006 is Cindy C., the Head of the Technical Processes Department at the downtown Bennett Martin Public Library. Cindy has worked for the library in a number of different capacities and has been a frequent contributor to the Staff Recommendations displays in the library. Her first online review appeared on our site in May 2004. Reading has always been a part of her life, and we thank her for responding to our request for thoughts on books and reading:
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.?
"During grade school I lived in a small town in Kansas and then we moved to Oklahoma City when I was in the sixth grade. We always had books and magazines in the house and my mother would read bedtime stories and Mother Goose rhymes to us. I vaguely remember learning to read with Dick and Jane and after that there was no stopping me.
I remember riding my bicycle to the small library in our town. It was in the basement of one of the "downtown" buildings. I was enamored of Uncle Wiggly at one point but also tore through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books within reach. My grandfather, bless his heart, would bring 5 or 6 hardcover books for me every time he visited. He must have had a wonderful consultant at the department store in Wichita where he made his purchases because the books were always age-appropriate and fairly good literature.
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 would read by flashlight under the covers and I particularly remember Charlotte's Web was the first book that made me cry. I could get so engrossed in a book that I would not hear my mother calling. I think it drove her nuts at times.
How important are books and reading to you?
Reading is still a great way to relax and to learn new things! So I would say that books and reading are vital for me. I must have a book at hand! Once in the mid-sixties my husband and I were on a train in Europe. We had purchased a copy of The Hobbit and we both wanted to read it. So we tore it apart and I would hand more pages over to him as soon as I'd finished them.
How do you select what book to read next?
I select books to read by reading reviews, by what mood I'm in (I don't like depressing or gory books - sorry Stephen King), by serendipity, or by what project I'm working on. For example, I'm working on genealogy right now and have become interested in the history of various locales associated with my family. I tend to avoid modern fiction because I resent the current style of writing which attempts to manipulate the reader with high humor followed by tragedy or despair (think Larry McMurtry or John Irving).
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
I can't say I enjoy writing reviews but otherwise I feel guilty and I do like to share a good find. There are some hidden gems on our library shelves.
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
I absolutely cannot pick only one author for people to read. Since I read multiple genres, I would recommend Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Mary Balogh for romances. I would choose Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, Lindsey Davis and/or John Maddox Roberts for mysteries of ancient Rome, and Bruce Alexander for British historical mysteries. I like space opera and fantasy and would choose Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Elizabeth Moon's Heris Serrano series, and the Liaden universe of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey novels and Charles Dickens are my top picks for historical fiction. For biographies and memoirs I would pick Ralph Moody's Little Britches books, May Sarton's diaries, and John D. Fitzgerald's "Papa married a Mormon." And last but not least, as a former children's librarian, I recommend the Harry Potter series, and the Great Brain series. Now I promise I will stop."
Posted to the BookGuide site in September 2006 | Cindy C. retired from the Lincoln City Libraries in 2007