Meet November Reader of the Month: Angie Johnson
I have worked at Carnegie-Stout Public library for 14 years, the last 6 of which I have been an Adult Services Librarian. I created the Great Reading Challenge and I host the Geek Out! Book Club for adults. You might see me at events in the library or at one of the public service desks. Away from work, I love spending time with my family, going to movies, making jewelry and reading, of course.
I love fantasy books the most these days. After falling in love with the Harry Potter universe in 1999 (Especially the audio books! Perfection!) , I haven’t looked back. I do read a lot of Young Adult titles, mainly in fantasy, but I also like the Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian book trend of the last decade. Romance titles have found their way to my TBR list lately, which is new for me, but they can be fun, delightful reads. My personal reading philosophy is life is too short to finish books you don’t like, books you feel like you “should read,” or to continue on in a series that is just okay. If a book just doesn’t work for you, move on to something better. I love that my job as a librarian encourages me to help people find their next favorite book. It really makes my day when people come back to tell me how much they liked the book we found for them.
Q & A:
Q. What is the best book you have read within the last year (or ever)?
A. In the last year, I read The Wayward Children fantasy series by Seanan McGuire and the Grisha Universe young adult books by Leigh Bardugo (Netflix released “Shadow and Bone” last year, based on the first book. It was gorgeous and a fun watch!) A few of the best books I have ever read are “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire; “Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson; and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. All of them have stuck with me for years and pop-up in my mind all the time.
Q. What is your ideal reading environment (location, sound, snacks, etc.)?
A. It is all about being cozy! Especially in the fall and winter. If I had a fireplace accessible, I would be sipping coffee, a cat on my lap and reading by the fire. Otherwise, I just enjoy a quiet room and a comfortable chair or bed. I read most books in ebook format or audio book. Snacks optional; coffee and cats, mandatory!
Q. What book are you most excited about reading next, and what about it is most exciting?
A. I am waiting until Thanksgiving break to start book 15 in the October Daye series, “When Sorrows Come” by Seanan McGuire. This book is a fantasy/mystery series with a snarky, powerful female protagonist, and is set in the world of the Fae. The events in this book have been eluded to for the last several stories so we finally get to find out what happens! I have the audiobook and I just cannot wait to begin! Fun facts: The author Seanan McGuire and the narrator of her audio books (and author in her own right), Mary Robinette Kowal, were both guest presenters at Carnegie-Stout in the past five years. I just love them both!
Q. What book do you think more people should read, and why do you think they should read it?
A. I think books are such an individual experience for everyone that I cannot say any one book would be right for everyone. However, I would love to see as many people as possible listen to audiobooks, if they are able to use this type of medium. I am absolutely the biggest fan and cheerleader of audiobooks. You can listen while you drive, walk, clean, craft. You can listen while you are in bed, before sleep. Just set the timer on your device for 15 or 30 minutes, close your eyes, and enjoy the listen!
Some people are concerned they cannot concentrate or that they don’t know where to look. That’s why some people like to color or craft, or close their eyes (as long as they are not doing anything else! 🙂 Before long, you get used to it. Another trick, if you have a hard time getting into the audio story, is to read the book on paper or ebook to get used to the world, the characters, and even the spelling of names in your book. Then, switch to audiobook and you will know what is going on and can enjoy the listen. Lastly, if you try an audiobook and you don’t like the narrator, don’t give up! Not all narrators are great, but so very many are exceptional and if you give them a try, I know you can find one that you love!
Q. Do you remember when your love for reading began?
A. My earliest memories of reading on my own, I remember sitting in a tree house reading “The Secret Garden” and Nancy Drew mysteries. I liked reading as a kid, but I began to truly love reading as a teen. I could not get enough of the classics like “Wuthering Heights,” “Beloved,” “Winesburg, Ohio,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “Walden.” I knew I wanted to be a librarian early on too because a library has so much to offer and I wanted to be a part of that.