Meet November Reader of the Month: Barry Zalben
I am a retired City of Milwaukee employee of the Legislative Reference Bureau, an agency providing research and reference services to the Milwaukee City Council. I relocated to Dubuque in February 2021, having visited and enjoyed the Tri-State area since the 1990s. My favorite subjects of books are mysteries, sports (primarily baseball) and nonfiction (politics, World War II, business).
Q & A:
Q. What is the best book you have read within the last year (or ever)?
A. The best book I’ve read is part of the continuing Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon, involving Police Commissario Brunetti, of the Venice, Italy Police Department. Brunetti is a bit of a scholastic and a gourmet, and Leon’s books always involve somewhat of a twist at the end.
Q. What is your ideal reading environment (location, sound, snacks, etc.)?
A. My ideal reading environment is on the sofa, or a big leather chair, also in the living room, or in bed.
Q. What book are you most excited about reading next, and what about it is most exciting?
A. I always enjoy the Commissario Brunetti series by Donna Leon; a new book comes out generally every March or April. I also look forward to the Sunday New York Times Book Review for books to read next, be they fiction or nonfiction.
Q. What book do you think more people should read, and why do you think they should read it?
A. As a category, I believe people should read books dealing with current political events, so they can make informed choices when voting.
Q. When do you decide to stop reading a book? In other words, do you read every book to the last page or is there a moment when you decide to stop?
A. Sometimes I have ”abandoned” a book after the first 40 or 50 pages; I am just not connecting to the author’s writing style, no matter how hard I try.
Q. Do you remember when your love for reading began?
A. When I was 4 years old, my mother encouraged me to read, and rewarded me with a silver star for 5 books read and a gold star for every 10 books. Five gold stars resulted in a “tangible” reward; the biggest one I can remember was a trip to New York City (we were living in Philadelphia at the time).