Diving back into books

Working for a library is THE BEST JOB. I’ve been lucky enough to work for my local library since 2013, and I’ve loved every minute. Working in circulation (on the desk where you actually check the books out to people) was a lot of fun. You get to talk to people about books and reading every day, which is a great way to get and give recommendations. You get to SEE thousands of books every shift, but the majority are going out with the people you’re helping.

These days I work in the Home Library department, taking library materials out into the community, to people who can’t get to the library. Since Covid, we’re naturally taking extreme precautions, wearing PPE, and dropping the materials off at doorsteps in paper bags instead of going in. The added advantage of Home Library work is that I have a certain amount of time at my desk every day, with time to check through the catalogue – it helps when patrons ask me about specific authors or books if I know what’s coming out.

All this is a roundabout introduction to say that (like a lot of people, I suspect) the amount of reading I can manage each month fluctuates wildly. In February my appetite flared, coinciding with a sudden influx of my reserves coming in. (I posted pictures of four of the books at the head of this post).

I kicked off with Charles Soule’s “Light of the Jedi”. This is the first book about the new Star Wars era, the High Republic. I’ve been a Star Wars fan for decades, and I enjoyed the opening of the book very much, but the size of my To Be Read pile meant I picked up some of my other tomes at the same time.

“Laziness Does Not Exist” is a non-fiction book by Devon Price Phd. Since I’ve consistently described myself as lazy for years, I was keen to see what the thrust of the book was. Reading non-fiction is harder on my brain, but it’s nicely written, with plenty of personal experiences to illustrate the points. It’s mostly looking at the culture of work in the US, where vacation and sick leave seem to be regarded as signs of weakness. I liked the way the book presents the idea that we use “lazy” as a pejorative, even when we’re discussing behaviours that aren’t driven by sloth or a lack of application.

Charlaine Harris is best known for her Sookie Stackhouse books, but recently released the third in a series about Gunnie Rose. I had missed the first when it came out, so now I grabbed all three at once and ended up devouring the first book “An Easy Death” in a single night. The books are set in an alternate America, where Roosevelt has been assassinated, and the country is divided up between Britain, Canada, Mexico, the fleeing Russian Royal Family who have set up the Holy Russian Empire, and Dixie (the Southern States), as well as New America. The pacing is great, the characters are interesting, and what I liked was that, while things are hard on the protagonist, she’s competent at what she does, and the odds never overwhelm her. I’m now a quarter of the way through the second book. (*edit* I took a couple of days to finish this post, and I have now read all three Gunnie Rose books. Go do the same. Right now.)

I’ll get back to “The Light of the Jedi” very soon – Charles Soule is an excellent writer, and the new era is full of interesting characters and tense situations. The reason I was able to put it aside was knowing that this book sets up the whole High Republic Era storyline, so we’re moving from a period of stability into conflict. So, bad things happen, and sometimes they happen to good people. Like I intimated above, I’m not great at enjoying the misery of protagonists, even when it’s essential to the plot. But, because it’s been a couple of days since I started writing this post, I now have another non-fic to bounce off too.

Hope your “To Be Read” pile is as engaging as mine has been!

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