Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Can Books Save Your Life?

Nancy Pearl thinks they can. She believes her life was saved by books.

"I didn't come from a particularly happy family and reading was my sole means of escape. The librarians at my local library in Detroit really showed me what books there were and what the world was like outside what I knew. I knew when I was 10 that I wanted to be a librarian - a children's librarian in fact."

I was so excited to have a conversation with Nancy Pearl because we have similar backgrounds and interests. Libraries, book stores and radio about books specifically. I told Nancy how I could trace my love of reading to specific people. Namely, my mom, as well as my aunt Sue. My mom made going to the library more fun than anything. She read to me and she passed on her favorite books and we still trade books to this day. One of the best presents I ever got was from my aunt Sue (besides the bag of candybars from my sis).... she took me to a bookstore and let me pick out TEN BOOKS! TEN! One of those books was "A Wrinkle in Time".

I asked Nancy Pearl about her early reading years.

"I was one of those kids who began my reading with horse and dog books and that's all I used to read. But then this librarian - a woman named Frances Whitehead (who I really think in a lot of ways saved my life) said, 'oh Nancy I have a new horse book - would you like to be the first person to check it out?' And I would always fall for this, time and time again and I said 'Yes Ms. Whitehead, I'd LOVE to be the first person to read that book' and I would hold out my hand expecting her to give me the book. She would say 'oh but - wait - before you read that book - I just want you to try another book, first, and then as soon as you finish that other book I'll give you the brand new book. ' So by that sort of somewhat sneaky way I read Mary Poppins, The Wind in the Willows and the J.R.R. Tolkien books"

Tune in for my conversation with Nancy Pearl, a librarian so famous they made an action figure of her! Check out her great website for lots of book recommendations.

In our conversation, Nancy recommended the following books:

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Nancy Pearl will be in Grand Rapids Wednesday September 10th at 1:30 to give a booktalk, "Great Books to Read - New and Old". The event is free and open to the public.


Anonymous said...

looks like the VP/Gov Sarah Palin doll to me.


Heidi Holtan said...

Nah, the shoes are much too sensible, brother!

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