Meet the August Reader of the Month: Sarah Jackman
I work as an English teacher at Dubuque Senior High School. When I am not working and don’t have my nose in a book, I enjoy camping with my husband and two young children, visiting the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, baking, and listening to true crime podcasts. I gravitate toward thrillers and historical fiction, but will read just about anything that sounds good. There are many nonfiction books I’ve picked up just because I thought the concept sounded interesting only to finish within days because it was so fascinating. I want everyone to enjoy reading, but I also know that it can be intimidating. Reading does not have to be a traditional book – it can be a magazine, an audiobook, a graphic novel, a cookbook, reading aloud to children, an instructional manual for something you want to learn. Reading is reading, no matter how it’s done.
Q & A:
Q. What is the best book you have read within the last year (or ever)?
A. In the last year, the best book I’ve read was “Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio” by Derf Backderf. I saw it on the shelf at the school library where I work. The Kent State massacre is something I’ve always been interested in and I’ve grown to appreciate graphic novels. This one definitely didn’t disappoint. In terms of ever, I don’t have a specific book so much as an author. Mary Roach’s work fascinates me every single time. I read “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” first, and then quickly devoured anything and everything with her name on it.
Q. What is your ideal reading environment (location, sound, snacks, etc.)?
A. I have a comfortable chair and a good reading lamp in my bedroom. A cup of tea and a fluffy blanket are all I need to be able to enjoy my book. I also love using the Libby app through the library. I do not drive too far most of the time, but no matter the length of my drive, I enjoy listening to audiobooks. The library has such a wide variety of genres available and thanks to audiobook publishers putting a lot of effort into their productions, some are almost like listening to a play!
Q. What book are you most excited about reading next, and what about it is most exciting?
A. It’s a toss up between Mary Roach’s upcoming “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” and “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V. E. Schwab. I’m excited about “Fuzz” simply because everything else I’ve read by her is pure gold and I know this one will be as well. I have to give my students credit for “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” because they were talking to me about TikTok and I got an account simply to see what they were talking about. I stumbled onto #BookTok and it was all over for a manageable ‘To Read’ list from there. “The Secret Life of Addie LaRue” is mentioned in many videos and the premise sounds interesting.
Q. What book do you think more people should read, and why do you think they should read it?
A. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahme-Smith. This probably seems like a silly recommendation, but hear me out. This book was, without a doubt, one of the most fun books I’ve ever read. Without even trying, I got completely lost in the story and could not put it down. If you’re looking for a book that makes you think while also being just plain fun, this is it.
Also, “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks… but there’s a caveat here—listen to the audiobook. A different person reads each chapter and it is absolutely fascinating. I grabbed this one at random off the library audiobook shelf one day, not really knowing what to expect. This was a new genre to me and I was blown away. This is a great one if you’re wanting to try something new and lose yourself in a story.
Q. Do you remember when your love for reading began?
A. As soon as I could read. Or even before that, as soon as I could remember being read to.