It's Germane

The John Jermain Library's Weblog

What I Read on My Winter Vacation

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Well actually, it was only a snow day, but we’ll call it a mini-vacation for the purposes of this blog post. Like many of you, I spent a hefty part of  yesterday shoveling snow. But, before and after that, I had time for a few other activities as well: watering plants, transplanting a couple of orchids that have been neglected for far too long, scratching the cat’s belly (it’s amazing how much our cat enjoys that), surfing the web, signing up for “Buzz,” Google’s new online social media feature (kind of like Facebook in your GMail inbox), and a few other home-bound type activities, that only seem to get done when I have an unexpected day off.

Unsurprisingly, like many of my colleagues here at John Jermain, I also spent a good part of the day reading. And that got me thinking. Do library staffers typically take a busman’s holiday and spend their day reading when they have time off? Granted, working in a library and reading a book are not the same thing. Still, we do spend an inordinate amount of our lives surrounded by, working with and thinking about books, so when we have some free time, we might be excused if we chose to devote it to other pastimes. Jigsaw puzzles anyone?

So this morning, in an effort to answer this pressing question, I did a quick survey of my fellow employees to find out how many of us spent at least part of our snow day engrossed in a good (or bad, or indifferent) book. I also compiled a list of what we’re currently reading — I just thought you might like to know. Of the ten staffers working at the library this morning, it turns out the nine of us spent at least part of yesterday reading books, and the tenth devoted herself to catching up on old magazines and newspapers.  I can’t say I didn’t expect as much.

Here, in no particular order, is what we’re reading. Each book has been linked to it’s entry in our catalog in case you would like to find our more about it.

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

His Father’s Son by Bentley Little

Mantrap: A Lawton Close and the Locked Rooms Mystery by Joseph F. Hanna (local author)

River of Doubt by Candice Millard (2 readers – This book is the “Long Island Reads” selection for 2010)

The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Ruined by Paula Morris

Cairo Diary by Maxime Chattam

Shannon by Frank Delaney

The Book of Genisis Illustrated by R. Crumb

For the Roses by Julie Garwood

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Mathieu Ricard

Many of you will no doubt have noticed that there are more than nine titles listed here. Which means that some of us read more than one book at a time. (My hand is up here, and I was glad to find out that I’m not the only one.)

In addition to all the worthy titles above, a few of us were also perusing some really fine cookbooks at one time or another throughout the day, either planning the evening meal or a menu for a future gathering.

The Blackberry Farm cookbook: Four Seasons of Great Good and the Good Life by Sam Beall

Arabesque: A taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon by Claudia Roden

Il viaggio di Vetri: A Culinary Journey by Marc Vetri with David Joachim

A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy Seasonal Suppers for Family and Friends by Jack Bishop (local author)

The last one is my particular favorite. Last night I cooked up a Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Stew. It did not disappoint.

— Eric Cohen

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