This month we had another wonderful Rave Reviews program. I was joined by my colleague Jasna Cakmak who brought in some wonderful selections and we enjoyed tea, treats, and great conversation about the books we’re reading and how we pick them.
Rave Reviews is one of my favourite programs because it’s such a great way to get talking about books and to share book recommendations. I have a love/hate relationship with book recommendations. For me, a major factor to consider is who’s doing the recommending. I read a lot of book reviews and lists and I love checking with Book Marks to get a feel for the average rating a book has been given. There’s so many resources out there that I do end up with insane “to read” piles but I’ve found tricks to avoid spending time on books that I don’t love.
Marshall McLuhan suggests that a reader may do best to begin with page 69 to see if the book is going to appeal to them. I like the recommendation, it’s early enough in the book that it won’t spoil major plot point but late enough that things are happening and you’ll get a feel for the book’s general pacing and it’s a trick I’ve begun using to help pare down my reading list so I don’t bring every possible book home. Try it in the library, there’s no problem with browsing and checking or even placing holds and returning them right away if they’re not right for you. Books are meant to be a joy and I believe life is too short to read books that don’t enrich our lives.
The key to a satisfying reading life may be knowing when to give up if a book isn’t working for you. Nancy Pearl, my favourite celebrity librarian, suggests that we use a sliding scale depending on the reader’s age; those fifty and under should read 50 pages before giving up on a book. While those over fifty-one and over can read a bit less; 100 pages less their age. It’s been one of my personal reading rules for years and it’s considered a “LifeHack” at this point.
Jasna’s October Picks
An excellent novel of coming of age. Selin has many questions to ask, and she is starting Harvard with hopes of finding answers. Instead, she experiences everything for the first time – first loves, first friendships, first conflicts, and much more. In the end, she is left with even more questions, and hardly any answers.
A novel about a man who has seen everything, experienced everything, and lived through everything. In his long lifetime, he has experienced love, loss, success, failure, and every other imaginable emotion. If death is not as imminent as we think it is, why should we try? What is the point? What is the drive that makes us live life?
Two people spent a romantic few days together, and have never seen each other after. Now, due to the nature of their work, they are isolated for a long period – all alone, with their own thoughts as the only company. The only thing keeping them grounded, keeping them from losing themselves is the memory of their encounter.
In the spirit of “Look Who’s Talking”, in this novel we get to hear the events told by an unlikely narrator – the unborn baby. It is up to us to decide how reliable this narrator is, but nonetheless we follow along in its adventures, both internal and external.
How do we recognize people? What features do we pay attention to in order to distinguish one person from another? Several different people suddenly tell Jean, a small business owner from Toronto, that she has a doppelganger. The only problem is that Jean cannot seem to find her. In this fast-paced novel of obsession, as the mystery unravels, we get to learn more about Jean, and about ourselves.
Our next Rave Reviews program will be on Tuesday, December 4th at 2:30pm at the Central Library on 850 Ouellette. Registration is never required and all are welcome. If you have any questions please call Kate at 519-255-6770 x. 6620or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to sharing books with you!