Getting to Know Us: Shaina, Outreach

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 live in either Anne’s Avonlea or postwar Guernsey in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I have a thing for farm towns on idyllic islands, I guess. It’s possible that I’ve actually looked (unsuccessfully) for library jobs on Prince Edward Island and Guernsey. I also wouldn’t mind being adopted by Barbara Kingsolver and living on her homestead in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

I would never, ever want to live in the American West in Nancy Turner’s These is My Words or O.E. Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth. Small, settled farm towns sound great. Wild, unpopulated prairie would destroy my sanity.

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

This is a tough one. I would love to be able to write like Robin McKinley, Elizabeth George Speare, Anne Tyler, Barbara Kingsolver, or Helen Simonson. If I’m deciding based on character and lifestyle as well as writing ability, I’d trade with J.K. Rowling in an instant. In addition to having one of the most charming literary voices out there, she’s remained down-to-earth, charitable, and loving. Being fabulously wealthy also doesn’t sound terrible.

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

Favorite question: “Can you recommend a historical fiction novel with a female lead?” or “Can you recommend a great fairytale retelling?”

Least favorite question: “Can you recommend manly fantasy/a great mystery? I have already read everything and will immediately shoot down all of your recommendations.”

OR: “Can you recommend a good book? I refuse to tell you anything about the kinds of books I like.”

What do you love about working at the library?

Being surrounded by books and book lovers. This is my happy place and these are my people.

What book helped you learn to love reading?

I’ve loved reading stories from the time I was teeny tiny and don’t know where exactly it all started, but I do remember memorizing Ernie’s Bath Book when I was three and claiming I knew how to read.

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

Adult Fiction. I’d be sad to leave YA, children’s, nonfiction, and media behind, but general fiction is where my very favorite favorites are.

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

None so far, although in high school I did have a cat named Chester Copperpot (10 points to you if you can name the movie).

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?

Pride and Prejudice, As You Like It (do plays count?), and The Importance of Being Earnest (I really hope plays count). Austen, Shakespeare, and Wilde seem like a good place to start for rebuilding the literary canon. Plus, the satire might be a nice break from the stress of dodging zombies.

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

“Sleep is good, he said, and books are better.” -George R. R. Martin. I’ve never read any of Martin’s books, but this sums up my entire philosophy on life. I’d rather be well-read than well-rested.

Favorite thing you’ve read this year?

I have three: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, and The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.

Please tell your favorite library puke story.

No puke stories, though I have been in the Provo Library when other…bodily substances…have been found.

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

It’s not necessarily a genre, but I feel like I’ve got a little Austen in me. I’m a weird mix of traditional, liberal, feminist, feminine, and snarky.


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