I read more than the average person, I’m told. These days, I read for a variety of purposes.
I read to support my patrons. This reading supports the students and staff who use my school’s library resources. I sample books they request. I read to assess the usefulness of books in supporting the International Baccalaureate framework we follow. I read to become aware of new material with which to maintain a rich and diverse collection, and to keep it current and relevant within the context of our changing world.
I read to serve. I’m on the Board of the Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children’s Media, as I’ve mentioned before. We read and review hundreds of titles each year. As library staff and others in tune with children’s literature, we assess books for suitability mostly in school library settings. We look at a wide variety of criteria, and monthly meetings highlight books of note. Many are donated each year to under-served libraries, and some specific types make their way to schools over seas. We’re lucky enough to keep some for our own libraries as well.
I read because I simply love reading. Reading feeds a place in me. It takes me to new places and allows me to share in new experiences which shape me. It is solace and release and energy all at once.
Many folks read and review the latest releases. I do a bit of that, too, outside my Puget Sound Council review work,through NetGalley. I love hearing and talking about new releases with my friends on Twitter and elsewhere, but in all honesty, I’m often late to the new release party. I get excited, but I get behind. I try not to feel guilty for late reviews, which I know don’t create the buzz a book deserves at its release, but I can’t always keep up.
So I try to maintain a balance, reviewing promptly when I can, and catching up on others over time.
But some books deserve attention. I feel it doesn’t really matter when I realize that they do. The sharing is still important. Consequently, I’ve been working on a series of blog posts I call “Late to the Party.”
The first Late to the Party post highlights a series I’ve been enjoying on audio over the past couple of years. I feel as if I’m late to the party since the series has been out for awhile, though Flavia de Luce actually comes back to grace us with her youthful charm in a new book out this year.
If you’ve never heard of Flavia, you need to become acquainted right away. You need to become acquainted, that is, if you enjoy mysteries and chemistry, all tied up neatly in a strange little package named Flavia, Alan Bradley’s surprising, disturbing and utterly delightful 11 year-old heroine.
Flavia’s penchant for solving crime and her passion for poison are both odd and wonderful, and I have particularly enjoyed Jane Entwhistle’s skillful reading in the the audio versions. She handles each character with ease, and the transitions from one to another are always seamless, never forced. I can visualize each of the individuals speaking, and each characterization is a delight. That is a skill in and of itself, but of course, she’s got great stuff to work with in Bradley’s writing.
I am a bit worried. Book #5, Speaking from Among the Bones, left us with a cliff hanger. I am desperately hoping that the next book, just out, is not Flavia’s last. I couldn’t stand to be done with her story.
Have you met Flavia yet? Please share!
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