Reading Delights From The Welch Library

Once again, it’s time to share what we’re reading at the Welch Library. And boy---what variety! What diversity! We’re all over the book map!

Let’s start with Informationists Carrie Price and Katie Lobner (who FYI both finished the GAP Trail by bike this fall). Carrie offers up “I just decided to pick up “1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.”  

"I’ve read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore and liked them both, so now I’m ready to tackle this monster of a book.” If you want some Murakami context here’s a pretty comprehensive interview from a while back. Katie Lobner says “I just finished Lexicon by Max Barry, but I’m still figuring out how I feel about it…….it’s worth a read if you enjoy science fiction about hacking people’s brains with words”. 

Public Health Informationist Peggy Gross is up to her neck with reading material, “I have a few things I’m reading for fun.  First, I’m reading “Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin”.  She wrote “The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens”(here’s the movie review)…… I found it so gripping that I picked up the bio on Dickens last week. 

 

 

(Left, that’s Charles Dickens ---perhaps pondering how great it is to be Charles Dickens)

 

 

Peggy says “It is so so so good! Second, I’m reading The “Spoils of Poynton by Henry James.  I hear that it's one of his obscure novels, and I suppose I am working my way through all of Henry James in a rather haphazard way (not systematically by date or rank). Third, I’m reading Somerset Maugham’sTheatre.”  Maugham, to me, has a beautiful style in between F. Scott and Hemingway, so I appreciate him for that, and because he always tells a good tale. All three are being read currently. And the books are spread out throughout my house so I guess I also pick them up depending on where I sit down.”

My two cents? If you haven’t gotten your mind around some Henry James, you’re seriously missing out. My favs: “Daisy Miller” and “The Portrait of a Lady.” And Maugham’s book-to-film “Being Julia” is a fine few hours to spend in front of the flat screen. Annette Bening dramatically chews up scenery and plot! And here’s more on Charles Dickens.

And what is Sue Woodson, Head of Digital Library Services, reading? “I'm listening to a collection of short stories by Somerset Maugham. I guess I enjoy reading about misplaced people and events that didn't go the way you thought they should. And I just recently finished Ewen Montagu's “The Man Who Never Was.” The writing is not as good as Maugham but the story is great. It's about one of those great tricks the Brits played in WWII to confuse the Germans.” 

Head of Circulation/Reference and also an Informationist, Stella Seal, (a prolific reader I might add), points out “As usual I am in the middle or just finished a few things. I just finished “As You Wish by” Cary Elwes and Joe Leyden. As the name suggests, it is a memoir of the making of the movie, The Princess Bride. (Sword fight anyone?) Light fluff but an enjoyable glimpse into the background of a funny movie (a battle of wits, anyone?) I am also reading the inaugural book written by a high school friend of mine, James Shown, titled “Into the Delta.” 

“Into the Delta” is about an American missionary recruited to mount a rescue operation in Southeast Asia.

My cubicle neighbor David Bell, who handles Serials for Welch says “I am reading “The Name of the Rose,”by Umberto Eco. A murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327.” David wiki’d up a summary for me: “an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. It begins with a suicide, and continues with more mysterious deaths. It touches upon a labyrinthine medieval library, the subversive power of laughter, and the Inquisition.” Once again, this is another book that became a most intriguing film starring JAMES BOND!

OK, JUST KIDDING! The film starred Sean Connery and Christian Slater!

David says he's also reading,“We Were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oates. About a family that lives in a small rural town in New York during the latter part of the 20th century. David sent along a wiki review of the Mulvaney's: “They seem the perfect family: four children, the owners of a successful roofing business, and obsessed with social status. It tells the tale of the demise of this perfect family – an incident that is hushed up in town and never spoken of again. It is this incident that shatters the family with tragic consequences.” Joyce Carol Oates, as you can imagine, has a huge following and is retiring (apparently, not voluntarily) from Princeton in 2015.

One of my fellow Welch Service Center Desk buddies Christopher Henry has this eclectic mix he’s working through: “I'm currently on "Above the Human Landscape: An Anthology of Social Science Fiction." It’s a collection featuring stories from Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon, just to name a few. Also, I'm paging through "William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope" The title says it all: Star Wars, as a Shakespearean play. Gives me more than a few chuckles.” The “trailer” for the ----book, seems very fitting indeed.

Marsha Jolly, who works in Cataloguing, doesn’t have a book she’s reading, but wanted to pass along an inspiration she recently came across. It’s particularly poignant right now since she has a cousin who’s currently undergoing chemotherapy. On a sidee note, we’re sending lots of blessings Marsha’s way as she recently broke her collarbone trying to “hurry up” for church. We’re all wishing her the best. Her smile and good humor are definitely missed by all of us.

And finally our Library Director Anne Seymour shares what’s on her reading plate --- Anne was in Africa when she sent this my way. “Currently, I am reading three books. The first is “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. Yes, it's a bestseller but I wanted a good thriller/page turner for traveling And this fits the bill. The second book is the “Lonely Planet Guide To Tanzania”. It's been useful as I'm in Tanzania right now speaking at a conference, attending meetings and will be here for a few more days. Finally, I'm about to start Sonya Sotomayer's “My Beloved World” which is the Office of Women in Science and Medicine's book group pick. I'm looking forward to reading her memoir and discussing it next month with JHMI colleagues.”

So that’s where our literary minds are at. Care to share what’s buzzing around your “hive?” Let us know! We’re all looking for that good book or author that maybe we hadn’t heard about. Feel free to let us in on something old or something new.

 

Alonzo LaMont

 

alonzo@jhmi.edu  

 


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