Getting to Know Us: John, Circulation

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?
I’d visit LeGuin’s Earthsea. It’s one of my favorite fantasy worlds, right up there with Middle Earth and Narnia. Along those lines, I’d also love to visit John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband Chronicles series. They are junior fiction series about a young boy who’s trained as a ranger (longbowman/woodsman/law enforcer/ninja) in medieval England, something I always dreamed about as a kid (and still do, which is one reason I’m really excited about my son getting older and reliving some of those childhood moments. Letting your son run around the yard in nothing but his diaper and warpaint is completely normal, right?).
I would absolutely avoid Moby Dick. Great book, but I’m not a huge fan of the ocean/open water/carnivorous aquatic critters… As a child seeing a picture of eels could make me go into shock. Being out on the ocean with a madman who’s hunting a whale with a taste for people isn’t high on my list.
2. If you could be a famous author for a day, who would you choose?  Why?

Josephus. So, he’s not that famous unless you’re into ancient history. But I just want to know what actually went down with the whole suicide pact thing. Decides to kill his buddies and then join Vespasian? What was up with that?

3. What is your favorite question to answer at the library?  Least favorite question?
I love getting asked for book recommendations. Even if it’s something I’m not familiar with, I enjoy exploring new things in order to help patrons.
Least favorite: “Do I really have to pay for this?” Um, yes, puke/mold/unidentified sticky melted stuff/vibrant impromptu expressions of infant art disqualify books for circulation, sorry. The good news is, the book is now yours and you can forever treasure your child’s artwork. Or their puke. And no, I’m not trying to be mean, my kid isn’t different than anyone else’s and I’ve had to pay for several books (It’s actually a good excuse for me to increase the size of my library. Sure, it’s more expensive than Amazon, but my son makes for a good scapegoat when my wife asks why we have so many books…).
4. What do you love about working at the library?
Being around books and other bibliophiles. I used to have a phone job calling collection on late bills. Not the happiest job in the world. I would actually stop by the library on my way home to calm down after work. The phone job didn’t last, and after I left I ended up getting a job at the place I already spent most of my time in anyways, Orem Library.
5. What book helped you learn to love reading?

It’s hard to name one in particular. As a kid I spent most of my time in the Storytelling Wing here at Orem Library. I loved folk tales from around the world. It was always so cool to experience the various cultures of the world through their stories, and Orem has such a great selection of folktales! Also, I loved outdoor adventures like My Side of the Mountain and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They encouraged me to read, but also encouraged me to get away from the TV which is probably how I escaped being a bloated vegetatus videogamus like so many of today’s kids, and wound up being the tall, dark, and handsome athlete I am. Don’t laugh, it might be true one day (when I stop reading and go outside).

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

The storytelling wing has a lot of childhood nostalgia for me, and it’s one of my favorite places in the library so I’d stay there (great place to raise kids as well).

7. How many members of your family (including pets) have you named after characters in books?
None so far, but I’m still trying to convince my wife about naming a son Gilgamesh. We could call him Gilgy for short… And then have another named Enkidu! (As long as the neighbors don’t have large trees or bulls.)
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?

Practical answer: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, for obvious reasons. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell is a great resource for… many things… And Robert Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky is a great read and a decent guide for the re-establishment of civilization in a hostile setting (avoid Lord of the Flies). Depending on the situation, Warm Bodies might provide some guidance into making life a bit more pleasant as far as undead members of the opposite gender goes and could be swapped out for one of the other books if you so desire. Also as an alternative to Tunnel in the Sky, Frederick Bastiat’s The Law would be (in my humble opinion) the best blueprint for a functional government and society. Certainly would be a better alternative to our current political situation. But heck, a zombie apocalypse would probably be preferable to our current political situation.

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

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Marcus Tullius Cicerio

10. Favorite thing you’ve read this year?
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. Probably the most epic climax and conclusion to a series that I’ve ever read. Also, Druidry and Meditation offered some really practical suggestions for personal meditation and helped connect with the world around me (provided that world is my preferred one which consists of no cars, electricity, concrete, or internet and abounds with critters and all things green and earthy).
11. Please tell your favorite library puke story.

No fresh puke, just dried puke on books in the bookdrop. Plenty of other puke stories though, mainly involving hiking, orange juice, or intestinal worms, but I’ll leave those for another time…

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

I was told once that I’m an eighty-year old in a twenty-year old’s body (don’t ask me for pop music recommendations, I haven’t gotten past Rachmaninoff) so I guess that would put me in large print…

By choice however, I would be outdoor humor. Bill Lepp and Patrick McManus have inspired many adventures which resulted in some rather strange reflexes, topless trees, new curse words, nervous twitches, scar tissue which resulted in uncontrollable leaking of bodily fluids, interesting conversations with police officers, permanent loss of feeling in various areas of my body, inside jokes, instant immolation of body hair, opportunities to view human bones “in situ” and a completely desensitized mother who would completely ignore me when I walked in the door and told her my eye was bleeding (it actually was).

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