Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Women reflecting on their lives

I just read two memoirs by women. Dewey by Vicki Myron is by a librarian, who writes about her life and intertwines it with the life of Dewey, the library cat. Heather Lende lives miles away from Iowa, but also lives in a small town... in Alaska.

Dewey was shoved into a book return at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. Myron and her co-workers fix the half frozen, frostbitten kitten out of the book drop and a love affair begins. Myron chronicles her own life and her life with Dewey. She tells of the difference she feels this cat made to a town in an economic depression and recounts Dewey's growning fame as a library cat. I recently reviewed two other library memoirs, where they were cynical Myron's book is sweet and poignant.

If you lived here, I'd know your name is Lende's story of moving to Haines, Alaska as a young bride and building a new life. Lende is raising several kids with her husband in this small town, where she is also a reporter and obituary writer for the small town paper. The span of her writing extends out to the people she writes about, so it is a little broader than a memoir. Life in Haines is rewarding, but it isn't easy. For every older person, who might die, there are young people earning a living fishing and losing their lives at sea. She focuses too on joyful things like berry picking, flying to adopt a daughter, on faith and much more. At the end of each chapter are selections from the short notices about the community that she writes for the paper. An enjoyable read.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chosen forever

Chosen Forever is Susan Richard's follow up to the memoir Chosen by a Horse. She talks about the struggle to get her work pubished and the aftermath or afterglow of finally getting it published. The impact of her childhood abandonment continues to haunt her in this memoir. She has to deal with her anxiety and her estranged family during the book tour. However she also gets to deal with photographer Dennis Stock, who came to her second reading for the book.

This is a story of how the past can haunt, but you can break those bonds. It is also a romance. A pleasant quick read.

Librarians report

Two new memoirs on working libraries have been released - Free for all by Don Borchert and Quiet, Please by Scott Douglas. Both work in California libraries, but as a librarian I can report that some things seem to be universal. This does mean that some stories seem to repeat in a way. Borchert is a father and came to libraries after working a number of other jobs. Douglas is a young man, who started in libraries as a paraprofessional and went to library school as a result.

Both are fun, quick, cynical looks at working with the public.