Getting to Know Us: Ruth, Outreach

1. In Woody Allen’s short story The Kugelmass Episode, the protagonist discovers a magic cabinet that will allow him to visit his favorite books.  Using this cabinet, which books would you absolutely visit?  which would you avoid?

Assuming I could get out if things became dangerous, I would love to visit the worlds of Narnia, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Austen, and Fablehaven. I’d avoid Tolkien’s Middle-earth, all Cormac McCarthy books, Life of Pi, The Hunger Games, and anything written by Poe or a 19th-century Russian author. No thanks.

2. If you could be a famous author for a day, who would you choose?  Why?

Cormac McCarthy. I’ve wondered what he must have been thinking so many times while writing certain passages of certain books. It would be nice to know. Also I would surprise everyone by giving out a lot of autographs to my favorite people.

3. What is your favorite question to answer at the library?  Least favorite question?

Most favorite: What’s a good book or movie I should read/see that I haven’t yet? I love hearing what people have read/seen and enjoyed and exchanging recommendations and opinions about books and movies.

Least favorite: Do you know what’s wrong with the sound? Can you fix it? The answer to both questions . . . probably not.

4. What do you love about working at the library?

Being surrounded by books/movies I love and by smart, funny people who like talking about cool, weird, new, or favorite books/movies. I also love knowing that there is always new stuff at the library to discover and get excited about. Every time I visit Circulation I find six or seven new things I want to check out immediately.

5. What book helped you learn to love reading?

Definitely Brian Jacques’ Redwall series gets the top prize. I read every one of his books and cried for days when some of my favorite characters died. Other books I couldn’t get enough of as a child were Steven Kellogg’s Pinkerton books, Tomie DePaola’s Strega Nona books, Peggy Parish’s Amelia Bedelia books, the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary, a very old and dusty collection of Norse mythology I’ve never been able to track down again, Arleta Richardson’s Grandma’s Attic series, the Amelia books by Marissa Moss, and anything by Dan Gutman, Mildred D. Taylor, and Lloyd Alexander. Oh, and those Sadie Rose books by Hilda Stahl.

6. If you had to live in a section of the library, which section would you choose?

The fiction section. Internet, couches, my favorite genres of books, and a sweet outdoor view.

7. How many members of your family (including pets) have you named after characters in books?

I named our family dog Yeller when I was seven. I also had a rabbit when I was fifteen that I named Jacques after Brian Jacques. My goal is to one day have a son named Cormac (after Cormac McCarthy).

8. In order to save the world from the impending apocalypse, all but three novels must be sacrificed to the zombies; which three novels do you save?

Totally unfair question. It’s like asking which of your children you love most (Cormac, obviously – just kidding, future children!). I would hide books in my attic and lie to the collectors. If it really came to it, I’d pick Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (duh), and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (sorry to my loves Jane Austen, G. K. Chesterton, and C. S. Lewis, and to my husband for not picking Brandon Sanderson, but I just can’t imagine the world without Middle-earth).

9. What is your favorite quote about books and/or reading?

I don’t know that I have a favorite, but this one by Frederick Douglass is pretty fantastic: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

10. Favorite thing you’ve read this year?

I stumbled upon Small Island by Andrea Levy and was amazed at how fresh, current, and relevant it felt to me despite being set in 1948 in Jamaica and England. I also loved Serena by Ron Rash, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevksy.

11. Please tell your favorite library puke story.

Once upon a time, I thought I smelled puke in the library. But it was only my lunch. The end.

12. If you were a book, which genre would you be categorized in and why?

A happily-ever-after fairy tale!!!! Pretty please yes!?!?!?


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