Our featured Reviewer for February 2008 was Julie H. Julie has worked for the Lincoln City Libraries for several years, starting in the Reference Department downtown, and now at the Walt Branch Library. Her reviews show up with some regularity on our Staff Recommendations displays and on the BookGuide web site. Reading and reviewing books is an integral aspect of her life, as she indicates in her answers to our questions about 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, etc.?
I have lived in several different parts of America. I was born in New Ulm, MN. My parents then moved to Mission Viejo, CA. After only one year it was on to Lennox, SD and soon thereafter to Sioux Falls, SD. Sioux Falls was where I spent the majority of my life, and where I began my library career. Reading and libraries have always been a big part of my life. I started volunteering at the library in Sioux Falls when I was 14, and when I turned sixteen they encouraged me to apply to work there. They offered lots of words of wisdom, and when I went off to college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, I worked in the periodicals department of the library. After graduation my husband and I moved here to Lincoln and I naturally came to the library to work. I now have completed my masters degree in Library Science, and look forward to many more years of librarianship.
I started reading at the very young age of three – books like Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham. My mother was a preschool teacher and worked at teaching us to love books from birth. Some of my earliest memories are of the nice librarian in Lennox and all of the wonderful books in spinning racks. It would always be a big part of our downtown trip – stop at the fabric store in the basement of the drugstore, and then go to the library. I read everything I could get my hands on. By second grade I was reading all of my mom’s old Nancy Drew books and Chronicles of Narnia, and the Goosebumps series. By the time I was 10 I was reading all the books I was allowed to check out from the library, and then I’d start on my mom’s pile, which would include adult authors like Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Lilian Jackson Braun, and Stephen King, and my interests have only diversified since then. I can’t say that any author, specifically, has changed my life.
How important are books and reading to you?
Books and reading are extremely important to me. I always have at least one book in progress, and I have a to-read list of over 150 titles. If we go on vacation, I always have to pack several books – you never know if the weather will be bad or if the wait at the airport will be longer than expected. My husband and I also collect books – at last count we owned more than 700 books. I’m also the family member who gets the kids books for Christmas. I can’t help it. Books have always opened new worlds for me, so I expect them to delight others as well.
How do you select what books to read next?
I have about 15 favorite authors that write series, so they always have something to keep me going. I also get recommendations from co-workers, from customers, and from books that catch my eye when I’m working.
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
If I feel strongly enough about a particular book or series, I would like to share the experience with other readers. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a popular author or a story with deep meaning. I like to choose authors that may have been overlooked, in addition to books by popular authors.
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
Well, that depends. I usually read based on what mood I’m in. I read a bunch of different genres, and I usually can feel if I’m in the mood for a mystery, or a thriller, or a historical romance, or nonfiction. I have discovered a bunch of authors that I really enjoy from all my different genres, so reader beware!:
Space Opera/Science Fiction: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Espionage-Based Thriller: Ted Bell or Eric VanLustbader
Thriller: Jeffery Deaver or F. Paul Wilson
Mystery: Carole Nelson Douglas
Fantasy: Terry Goodkind
Supernatural: Jim Butcher
Humor/Satire: Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett
Historical Romance: Julia Quinn
Nonfiction: Mark Kurlansky or Ruth Reichl
And all-over favorite book: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Booklists from Book Talks presented by Julie:
Cruel and Unusual: Some Twists on Standard Genre Fiction (August 2007)
Posted to the BookGuide site in February 2008 | Last updated in December 2020 | Julie H. left the Lincoln City Libraries in 2008 and now works for the Omaha Public Library system