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Advising Readers August 24, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in Books and reading.
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     Finding a book one will love among the piles and piles of books available to us today can be a chore for those who don’t know how to go about searching. The Lycan Librarian recalls one patron who walked out from the fiction stacks looking confused and sighing deeply. Asking if she could be of service, the Lycan Librarian learned this woman was looking for a book like those she used to love. She was newly retired and planned to get back to reading, a hobby she had lost time for while working and raising her family. But she wasn’t able to find a book like the ones she used to love. “Like the ones they wrote in the 50s and 60s.” She talked about the books she had read by modern popular authors that simply didn’t touch her heart like the old books did. Upon hearing it suggested that she name books she liked, rather than those she didn’t, she began to list books she had loved: THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER from 1940, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD from 1962, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN from 1945. One might think she just liked older books, or coming of age fiction, but it was apparent to the Moonlit Library’s head librarian that she was reading popular fiction, but what she was actually looking for was literary fiction. 

     Writers are as good as they ever were, but people don’t all like the same books. There are many readers today who don’t want to wade through the character development that is contained in books such as those mentioned above.  Others want a faster paced story centered around a mystery. The first book the Lycan Librarian laid in the poor, lost patron’s hands was Donna Tart’s THE LITTLE FRIEND. The patron loved it, and she then began to trust modern writers.

     If there is one rule I would shout from the rooftops about reading, it is to read only books that you love. These are moments from your precious life that you are devoting to reading, so if a book doesn’t interest you, if you don’t find you can’t wait to get back to it, then drop it and find another. The Lycan Librarian used to view reading as a sort of adoption. If she started a book, she felt obligated to finish it. What a dope! There are too many books, and not enough time. Every sentence you read should make your heart sing. Read what you love, and love what you read.

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