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?
Do films count? ’cause I’d love to live in Singin’ in the Rain. But as far as books are concerned, anything by Louisa May Alcott would be lovely. And To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. But not Connie’s Blackout/All Clear set. You’d think it would be perfect because I should have been born in the ’20s and lived through the ’40s (the fashion! The films! The lifestyle!) but I was absolutely terrified by that book. And I would avoid anything horror or murder mysteries (I can guarantee I would be the corpse).
2. If you could be a famous author for a day, who would you choose? Why?
G. K. Chesterton. I find him quirky, blunt, and altogether fascinating. He’s got a brain, but also a sense of humor. His The Man Who Was Thursday was mindbogglingly brilliant, I thought, and should be read more than it is. It would be fun to see the inside of his head.
3. What is your favorite question to answer at the library? Least favorite?
I love it when people ask for books that are similar to ones you know you both love, because, in the racking of your brain to find those titles, you relive the fun you had reading those books. My least favorite scenario is when someone can’t find their hold and you discover that the hold has expired and that it has moved on to the next person in line. Being an active lover of the hold system myself, I know the disappointment that comes when you come in just one day too late and you have to wait to get the next copy!
4. What do you love about working at the library?
The people, and not just my fantastic co-workers, but the patrons. There are the patrons who are consistently recommending good books, and then there are the patrons who do random acts of kindness for others, like paying a two-dollar fine for a stranger. Also, I love the media section. I love that we have enough musicals to create a section just for them (I’ve watched almost every one).
5. What book helped you learn to love reading?
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I would beg my mother to read it to me after she finished Little House on the Prairie. But she wouldn’t, because her evil plan was to make me self-sufficient. So I fell further into her trap and asked her to teach me how to read instead. She did and has been simultaneously regretting and rejoicing in it since.
6. If you had to live in a section of the library, which section would you choose?
The media section. Comfy chairs, music, a projector–what else does an introvert need?
7. How many members of your family (including pets) have you named after characters in books?
None. I’ve never had anything to name. But Phineas is a favorite. As is Miriam. And Sebastian. Which is probably why I have no children. They fear the inevitable teasing.
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?
9. What is your favorite quote about books and/or reading?
I’m not sure this counts but I love this quote: “Friendship . . . is born at the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself. . . .” -C. S. Lewis. I know it’s not originally about reading, but that is what reading does. You connect to the characters in the book because you find a kinship with them. And then, wonder of wonders, you discover that a flesh-and-blood person also loves that book and you suddenly have another connection. It’s great!
10. Favorite thing you’ve read in the past year?
11. Please tell your favorite library puke story.
I came into work one day and I walked past a patch of our clean-up powder on the ground. It’s my favorite story because I missed the entire event!
12. If you were a book, which genre would you be categorized in and why?
Experimental non-fiction. Has anyone read A. J. Jacobs!? I love his books. He does these wacky experiments with his life–like living every kind of health nut thing available or living every single rule in the Bible for a year (including stoning adulterers). That would be my life but not on as grandiose a scale.