What We're Reading
Whenever I tell someone I work in the library, a common response is, "Wow, it must be great to be around books and read all day!" The reality is that reading on the job is considered bad form, and most of us are too busy checking out books, shelving them when they come back, providing reference, managing the network, keeping everyone safe or maintaining buildings to do more than glance at a tempting title.
What do we read in our free time?
Frank, from Reference Services, and his dog Kenneth are reading A Fine Balance: A Novel by Rohinton Mistry on an iPad. Frank says, "I was born and spent many years in Pakistan and then I traveled to India a couple times while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. I love the food of the Indian subcontinent and I like to read fiction and historical fiction that's set in India, Pakistan, etc. (e.g.The God of Small Things). I also really like to watch classical Hindi films, like those directed by Satyajit Ray."
Nancy, from the Books and Borrowing Department, is reading The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by writer and surgeon Atul Gawande. The message of the book is that a simple to-do list, particularly in medicine, can reduce deaths and complications at virtually no cost. In an NPR interview, Gawande offers other examples where checklists were crucial, such as "Sully" Sullivan's miraculous plane landing on the Hudson. Nancy summarizes by saying, "At this point, our ability to act effectively is not often hampered by our lack of information, but by the ability to use all of our information effectively. Gawande promotes the simple checklist as a means to focus our attention on the tasks that will make us successful. An interesting book recommended to me by a B&B co-worker."
Ethan, a security guard at Central (who is also a preacher and Sunday school teacher) is reading Prayers that Bring Healing and Activate Blessings: Experience the Protection, Power, and Favor of God by John Eckhardt. "This speaks a lot about my life, and allows me to offer blessings, healing, and declarations of positive and motivating words of God, and activate manifestations while you are going through hard times in your life!"
Some wrestle with the spirit, some with the flesh. "I couldn't pass up this graphic take on the life of the biggest star in the history of wrestling. The world is hard on us large folks, but Andre Roussimoff lived an amazing life," says Joe, who works in the Technical Services Department, and is reading Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown. "He once got a ride to school from Samuel Beckett, but only because he could no longer fit in the school bus. At age 12!"
Gigi, from the Children's Department, is also reading a graphic novel. "The title of the book I'm reading is This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. It's a young adult graphic novel and I'm reading it because I love the literary graphic novel format." Graphic novels are, essentially, very long comic books, and are now regularly reviewed and taught in literature classes. The New Yorker reviewed This One Summer, and interviewed the Canadian cousins who created it.
Want to learn more about graphic novels? CU professor William Kuskin is offering a free 7-week online class "Comic Books and Graphic Novels," complete with lectures, videos, tests and a Statement of Accomplishment at the end.