C-SPL January Reader of the Month

Becky Maher-Jacobson is a part-time Library Aide at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library.She is also a band director in the Western Dubuque Community School District.

 Q. What is the best book you have read within the last year (or ever)?

A. The best book that I have read in the last year is The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths. A Gothic thriller, this book is about a high school English teacher who starts receiving messages in her personal diary after a fellow teacher is murdered. With an intriguing plot line and relatable characters, this book kept me engaged throughout and I would highly recommend it to any mystery fans, especially those who love classic gothic horror novels. 

Q. What is your ideal reading environment (location, sound, snacks, etc.)?

A. My ideal reading environment is wrapped up in a blanket on my old squishy leather arm chair in front of our (unfortunately electric) fireplace. Wood-burning would definitely be preferable. Dressed in cozy sweats and fuzzy socks, I usually like to have some music on in the background, but something calm and relaxing that can fade away while I am reading. Snow or rain outside would be the icing on the cake!

Q. What book are you most excited about reading next, and what about it is most exciting?

A. The book that I am most excited about reading next is The Searcher by Tana French. Tana French is one of my favorite authors, with stand-out selections in her Dublin Murder Squad series and in her stand-alone novels. I always look forward to new releases from my favorite authors as I usually know that I will like the book in advance, especially if it’s an author whom I’ve read many of their titles. Another novel that will be released in February is a spin-off of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths that I mentioned was my favorite read of 2020. Griffiths has taken Detective Harbinder Kaur from The Stranger Diaries and given her a new case to solve involving a 90 year old woman’s death that shouldn’t be suspicious given her heart condition, but everything may not be as it seems…. I can’t wait to read it!

Q. Do you remember when your love for reading began? 

A. I do! I remember wanting to learn to read so badly before kindergarten, sitting on the floor of my room and staring at the words and letters, willing them to make sense. I was so excited when it finally started to click. Go Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman was the first book that I learned how to read, but the Harry Potter series really helped fuel my love of reading after my aunt purchased the first three books of the series for my 9th birthday. My parents are both big readers and read to us every night as kids, so they really instilled a love of reading in our family from an early age.

Q. Can you tell us about your reading interests in general? 

A. My belief when it comes to reading is that it should first be enjoyable, but also used to broaden your knowledge and your perspective on the world. I mostly stick to fiction since I consider it more leisurely than nonfiction, but I am honestly willing to read everything and anything, or at least give it a chance. My favorites are mystery and thriller novels (bonus points if they have an interesting twist at the end!), but I have recently been more into sci-fi type mysteries that have a supernatural or fantasy element involved, such as Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series or Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. The most important thing though is to read, so read what you like!

Check out Becky Maher-Jacobson’s book list

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