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.
Who doesn’t love a good story? While history books abound, a great way to learn about another time period is to pick up a novel set in the past. Good historical fiction not only tells a compelling story but also focuses on the people, events, and details of daily life in that time period. Any novel or short story that takes place in the past, usually more than 50 years before the author wrote it, is considered historical fiction. A selection of historical fiction novels that are well-told and evocative of their time periods are on these two lists: History in Fiction and Novel History.
For those of us who love books and reading, there are few things more pleasurable than meeting other readers and bibliophiles. Swapping books, book suggestions, and perhaps even going on a reading retreat are all a thrill to those of us who are avid readers.
There are times, though, when a fellow book lover isn’t available, or you are tired and just want to be alone, but yet you’d still love to discuss books. Did you know that there is an entire genre written for those times? I like to call them books about books, and there are many that have been written, both fiction and nonfiction, just for people like us.
The Miss Silver mystery series, by Patricia Wentworth, was written in the 1930s and 1940s. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Miss Silver is genteel, a spinster, and an avid knitter. However, the similarities end there. Miss Silver is a professional investigator who is more similar to Sherlock Holmes than Miss Marple.