My Librarian: Joy O'Toole
“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
― Desiderius Erasmus
Like food, water, and air, books are one of life’s necessities, at least for me. When I was growing up, one of my favorite characters was Jo March, who loved to read and write as I did. Later, I learned to squeeze my ongoing attraction for British detectives such as Roderick Alleyn and Lord Peter Wimsey into those odd corners of my busy life. My father would inspect my house whenever he visited, wondering if the weight of all my books had started sinking the foundation. Now my time is stretched thinner than ever before, but I am still creative in making time for mysteries, English women’s novels, and books on writing, since a day without reading feels incomplete.
Fortunately, my work requires extensive reading, so I never feel guilty about sitting down with a book. While I read widely and rarely refuse to try a new genre, I have favorite categories for my personal reading time: British mysteries, World War I fiction, classics, 20th-century women’s novels, Christian life, and writing.
After years of teaching and encouraging others to write, I am finally dabbling in some essay writing with hopes of starting a book in the near future. Baking bread, learning to knit, herb and flower gardening, and watching movies/programs such as A Room with a View, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey fill any leftover hours.
I love to talk about the books I am reading and look forward to helping you find your perfect next read.
October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. The 16th century is a fascinating era of big personalities, schisms, and upheavals, many of which led to the birth of the modern world. Biographies and historical narratives bring the past to life, and many new books are being published to commemorate this crucial time in Western history.
Writing tends to be a solitary activity. From hours of research to even more hours of honing one’s prose or choosing just the right word for a new poem, writers spend a lot of their time working alone. That’s what makes a writers' group so helpful and refreshing. You can get together with other writers who understand what you’ve been doing, learn something new to improve your work, make connections for future marketing or partnerships, and get some feedback on your current project.
After the horrors of World War I and the resulting social trauma, young men and women who survived came to be known as The Lost Generation because they never recovered from all of their losses and suffering. To deal with their pain, many of them lived by the adage, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” The Roaring Twenties, also known as the Jazz Age, was born.