Thursday, March 16, 2006

Getting Started

I have always had a passion for books so it seems inevitable that I would end up as a librarian. (Ironically, the profession doesn't allow time to read during work hours.) This year however I was honored with a two year appointment to the American Library Association CODES Notable Books Council. "The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division American Library Association (ALA), compiles a list of books selected for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge and for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers."

What this means for me is that I will have the sheer joy of immersing myself in books for the next 2 years. I will read as many of the hundreds of titles of note (and perhaps a few not-so-great titles) and spend time twice a year in all day meetings to discuss, debate and defend our favorites. At the end of the year we will come away with 25 books that are the best of the best. This is my attempt to keep track of the year's reading and to let friends and readers see what gets considered and how I am progressing. Of course, there is no way for anyone to read everything on the list but I will do my best.

So far the committee has identified 85 titles that have been published in the past three months that have received excellent reviews or book "buzz". As we work our way through the ever expanding list, books will appear and will also drop off. So far I have worked my way through 7 titles.

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard
The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright
The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis
The Widow's War by Sally Gunning
Timothy, or Notes of an Abject Reptile by Verlyn Klinkenborg
The Girls by Lori Lansens

All of these were interesting books that will appeal to wildly different types of readers. Arthur and George is a fictionalized account of a period of time in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and one of my current favorites. The Amalgamation Polka and The Thin Place will appeal to the more experimental readers among us.

For those who like natural history Timothy, or Notes of an Abject Reptile chronicle the life of a noted naturalist from the perspective of Timothy the turtle. If you decide to read this one please note the inclusion of a glossary at the end of the book. I didn't see it until halfway through the book and struggled with some of the more specialized or outdated terms. The general consenus was that turtles don't have much to say.

1 comment:

Bob Pedersen said...

Looks great!