Jumpstart Your Reading
by Kris Springer
Hi! My name is Kris, and I love to read. Books, magazines, billboards, greeting cards—you get the picture. I read a bit of everything—nonfiction, cookbooks, graphic novels, children’s books, teen books, literary fiction, sci fi, fantasy, memoir…
When I read, I usually get hooked on the voice of the narrator/author and want that voice in my head to keep on talking. I do read quite a bit (about 2 books/week), but sometimes I get in a reading funk, especially after I finish something like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (so good!!!). I can’t help but feel sad after finishing an amazing book like that because I’ll never read it for the first time again.
How to return to the land of happy reading:
- I check out books completely different from the one I just read to cleanse my palate. I’ll move from a modern literary novel to a children’s graphic novel or a nonfiction book about travel or cooking or how the human brain works. And then I’m back in the groove.
- I belong to a book group that meets monthly, so I’m often reading books I might not normally read. It helps stretch my horizons.
- I give myself permission to do other things (go for a hike, a movie, bake a new cake recipe, go out to dinner)!
- I re-read an old favorite that makes me fall in love with reading again. Some of my old friends are Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, and True Grit.
- I find the most effective way to find new titles is to ask someone to personally recommend books for me. At SJCPL, we do this for free! It’s called Your Next Great Read.
What is Your Next Great Read?
Here are 5 (+1) great books I’ve read this year:
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson spent years interviewing and researching in order to write about the Great Migration of African Americans moving north and west from the southern United States. Wilkerson deftly combines the big picture of the Great Migration with the voices of 3 different African Americans telling their own migration stories. For anyone interested in the history of the United States, this is an essential read.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
A deeply personal family story, told by the youngest daughter of Vietnamese refugees who left Vietnam in 1975 and settled in California. Told in beautiful pen and ink graphic novel form, the story is written by the author as a new mother, gaining perspective on her own mother’s life and her parents’ struggles to leave home and immigrate to the United States.
All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer
Henry and Celia are lovers and spies in Vienna. All is good until a hostage situation goes wrong and the CIA smells a mole. Six years later, Henry and Celia meet one last time to talk about Vienna. The movie version is in post-production, with Chris Pine and Michelle Williams in the lead roles.
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
This is the second book in a teen series about a sentient cloud computer called the Thunderhead who benevolently directs life on Earth. Although Thunderhead is better, read Scythe first. If you like drama, romance, and deft plot surprises, this one will make you gasp!
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
These are the first and second graphic novels in a series about middle school students. Well-drawn, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking. You will feel all the feels!
Fill out an online form and share some of your favorite titles, what you like in a good book, what you don’t like, and what you’re in the mood for. The Readers’ Services Librarians will jump into action, and in 5 days you’ll receive 5 titles. Recommended titles are published for children, teens and adults. Anyone can fill out the form, no matter your age or reading habits.
Not only is Kris the manager of Customer Service at Main Library and a voracious reader, she also advises the SJCPL Readers’ Advisory Committee. The committee was established in 2014 to engage patrons in reading conversations and to help grow a culture of readers in our community. Whether you are trying to jumpstart your own reading or are looking for your next great book, ask any SJCPL Librarian what they are reading today!