A few posts ago you may or may not recall my assertion that what GSLIS students should be doing during their break was to take some time to professionally develop. Well develop I did, but in the exact opposite way I intended. You see, over the break I read prolifically (for me, anyway). I read books I had been dying to take home and snuggle with. I read when I woke up every day. I read after my luxurious mid-morning naps. I read next to my family’s Christmas tree with a cup of tea in hand. ‘Twas glorious! Now, while this wasn’t strictly professional reading. I think it’s SO VERY important for librarians, who have very little time for pleasure reading (BIG misconception about the profession in my opinion), to read their hearts out. To read until their eyeballs pop right out of their sockets. Readers advisory is a skill to be honed and the only real way to get anything done on that front is to read and share. This, I have done. This, I feel good about. And NOW I’m going to tell you about what I read.
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
This book is a dark look into the tormented psyche of the American teen. It examines obesity in our society and how what we are craving is so much more than food, but acceptance by our peers. I was disturbed by this book, but could NOT put it down.
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
This book was like a punch in the stomach, but in a good way. I was very disappointed in Rowling’s wretchedly cruel characters in this book. But I forgot that J.K. Rowling is a genius and should not be underestimated. The storytelling and caliber of her writing is so compelling that this book had me weeping for these characters and flying through the final chapters just like her previous amazing books.
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
This novel follows a character previously featured in the Wednesday Wars, which I LOVED. It’s about a boy whose life is bleak, on his best days. His abusive father uproots the family to a new town after getting fired from his job in Long Island. They move upstate to “stupid Merrysville” where slowly but surely things begin to happen to turn a miserable kid into an engaged, helpful, responsible, talented and sensitive young adult. Terrific!
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I only include this book because I think it’s just amazing. I read it every year with my family over the holidays. It should definitely be read aloud. It probably takes us about 2 hours, 3 if we laugh too hard. The book is an epic about a regular, boring old Christmas pageant taken over by the town thugs, the Herdmans. This gang of kids, the meanest kids in fiction, hear about church because they want free cake and suddenly get interested in this fantastical play they’ve never heard of before: The Christmas pageant. “HEY! Unto you a child is BORN!” SHAZAM!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I thought I would save the best for last. I’m probably the last person in the profession to read this book. However, if you haven’t read it, it’s certainly not too late to squeeze it in before the semester starts next week. John Green tells us about the improbable journey of two souls doomed by cancer, Augustus and Hazel Grace. They are a perfect match in every way, and teach each other much about literature, poetry, video games, philosophy and how the world, surprisingly, isn’t a wish granting machine. I took a long time reading it, mainly because I never wanted to let these characters go.