We honor Susan G., manager of Myers Park Branch Library this month. She has reviewed literary fiction and graphic novels for Reader’s Club. Here are her thoughts on reading and writing reviews:
“I fell in love with reading when I sat around a little table in the first grade and discovered the exciting adventures of Dick and Jane. I have read voraciously since. I tend to read fiction, although not the best sellers. I often find debut novels that I enjoy, such as The Madonnas of Leningrad by Dean and Snow-Flower and the Secret Fan by See. It's hard for me to say I have a favorite author, because I usually don't like follow-up books. (Just as I rarely like movie sequels.) For example, I loved Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, but was disappointed in The Mermaid Chair. However, some series that I do look forward to are Grafton's alphabet series and McCall Smith's The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. I like non-fiction that reads as quickly as fiction. Some favorite non-fiction titles are Into Thin Air by Krakauer and Harr's The Lost Painting. I have begun to explore graphic novels. I find the combination of text and illustration a powerful way to convey a story.
I used to believe that I had to finish every book I started. But that was in my misguided youth. Now I follow Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 that says if a book hasn't grabbed a reader by page 50, they should put it down and reach for another. And she says if you are over 50 years old, subtract your age from 100. That's the number of pages you should read before deciding to keep with it or let it go. So I'm closing in on giving a book only 40 pages to make good. I agree with her that life is too short and there are too many good books to waste time on something that doesn't have you reading late into the night to find out what is going to happen.
I enjoy reviewing books that I have read and enjoyed, but I have trouble keeping to the word limit, so I don't have a large number of reviews posted . Rhapsodizing at length about a book is easier for me than writing a succinct and enticing review. I would like to put in a plug for Reader's Club. I have found some outstanding titles recommended by my co-workers on the site. I thank them for their passion and commitment to spreading the word about great reading.”