I had a very special moment at work the other day: I recommended a book to a patron, and they were delighted with the recommendation.
That might not seem particularly special. It is a library, after all; one might imagine that there is a lot of book recommending that goes on day after day. It never gets old for me, though. Books are a language, and everyone speaks a slightly different dialect. When you find something that connects, that overlaps, it’s a bit of magic in the world. Every book club is based on this: let’s all do this thing, read this book, have this experience – separately, and together at the same time. For me, books are a key part of how I get to know people and make connections with the world.
When I was younger, I had a habit of asking people what their favorite book was when they were a child. My dad, never a particularly big reader, told me that the Chronicles of Narnia was his favorite. I promptly read all seven books, and experienced my first bout of literary devastation when I realized that the story was over and I would never get to know more about what Peter and Susan and Edmund and Lucy and all their friends experienced. My dad passed in 2011, but for the rest of my life, Narnia will always be ours.
I read the first twenty some-odd of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels alongside my mom and my Grandma Willie; mom would read a couple, and pass them to me, and then we’d send a batch over to my grandma in Texas. They gave us fodder for endless conversations about particularly surprising twists or funny moments or how Stephanie needed to stop running back and forth between Ranger and Joe Morelli and just make a CHOICE, already!
At work these days, I find myself surrounded by people recommending books. Sometimes it’s co-workers spreading their favorite books like wildflowers. Sometimes it’s a patron recommending a book to me. And sometimes I have that magical moment where I can recommend a book that I think is exactly the right choice for a patron. It might be a tiny moment, but it’s one that makes my heart sing.
And if you’re interested, that tiny book I recommended should be checked back in soon, so feel free to ask me about it.
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