Our Great Readers

Enjoy learning about some of the Marion Library's Great Readers! If you're interested in BEING one of featured Great Readers, complete our application

Nancy Raim

What books have been important to you (or, your favorites) and why?
My favorite books as a child and for many years after are the Little House series by LauraNancy and Books Ingalls Wilder.  I read them several times and later read them to my children. Because I was a teacher, I have enjoyed the Miss Read books. I can relate to many of her classroom experiences.
How would you describe your reading life?

I enjoy reading gentle books and often read books for older children.  Since I am a quilter, I enjoy reading books that have quilting as a theme.  I prefer fiction and  especially historical fiction.  A cup of tea and a good book are my way of relaxing.

How do you find your next book?

I collect lists of books by favorite authors, get suggestions from friends, and always read the books on  the Children's Choice list.

What have you read lately that you'd recommend?

For quilters, I recommend the series by Jennifer Chiaverini or Marie Bostwick.  Ann Rinaldi write excellent historic fiction for children and Saving Zasha by Rani Barrow is a story about the last German Shepherd in Germany during the war.

What's great or special about the Marion Library to you as a reader? 

A long time ago I was the Story Lady at the Marion Library and later I took our children there for Story Hour.  The staff is helpful and friendly and I feel at home there.

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Mary Ryan

What books have been important to you (or, your favorites) and why?
My favorite authors, Dorothea Benton Frank, Kristin Hannah, Mary Kay Andrews, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Mary Alice Monroe who publish yearly.  They write about what they know, where they live - I have traveled those places so it is like traveling back, plus always a great story.

Always try the best sellers, anything off the library displays - I often let the librarians pick for me - that way I get books I would not have thought of
or knew about. Reading is my addiction.  I give many books a read or at least a try.

How would you describe your reading life?
I have to read something every day. When I travel, even in Europe, I try to bring back some books that I have purchased in-country,  I don't pick up books at book sales anymore.  Have cleaned out the house and the book shelves and won't store anything anymore, so the library is my source and the information desk my help.  I use interlibrary loan a lot - usually when I read about titles when I am hooked on a subject and need to read all I can find available on a subject.
How do you find your next book?
I get my titles at Barnes & Noble off the new releases tables, or staff recommendations section or what else I find in the store, then I come to the library to get the book.  Either it is on the shelf or put the title(s) on reserve or interlibrary loan.
What have you read lately that you'd recommend?
The Hillary Clinton autobiography, Hard Choices; Ruth Reichl's title, Delicious.  I read Gone Girl - haven't read others yet by that author.  Since I am a huge Elvis fan, I am planning to read the new book by Ginger, one of his girlfriends.
 
What's great or special about the Marion Library to you as a reader?
The library gives me a friendly feeling when I walk in.  I know the staff, just like I know the Barnes & Noble staff.  I always stop in the book store to see
what magazines I might buy.  I find titles there I like, but don't want to subscribe to regularly, so fifty cents a copy is cheap - then I return the magazines to the book store for resale.  I was a reference librarian at Cedar Rapids Public Library, the Carnegie building, for six years and three years in Detroit, Michigan before that, so I do appreciate a physically friendly building and knowledgeable, friendly staff. I look forward to the future of the Marion Public Library and the shape it will take when it is able to enlarge and do the things the library envisions for its future.  I don't live in Marion so REALLY APPRECIATE a great library as close to my home as I can find.
 
 

BookwormsDeb and BooksDeb Dakin

Part of being a Great Reader is passing along her love of reading to grandtwins Francesco and Alexandra.

What books have been important to you (or, your favorites) and why?
I don't know how to choose. Richard Power's The Time of Our Singing, Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence by John Hockenberry come to mind, along with every book ever written by Adam Hochshield (after reading King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa I went and read everything else and have continued to read every thing he has since written), and now the four books listed below. All these books have opened up my world in ways, and are some of the ones I have given as gifts.
 
How would you describe your reading life?

I love to read. It is one of my greatest passions. I would live in a cleaner house, and have a nicer yard, if I didn't spend most of my free moments with a book.

How do you find your next book?

I browse the Marion Library, which is where I found all of the books listed. After I read them and love them, then I go out and buy them as presents for my family and friends.

What have you read lately that you'd recommend?
Most recently: Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie - gives a good understanding into America and the way it looks at race as seen by an outsider.
All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu. Another African novel, also about race and America, but completely different. At one point it took my breath away.
Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family: A Test of Will and Faith in World War I by Louisa Thomas. The amazing story of the author's grandfather and his brothers as they experienced WWI - as fighters and also as conscientious objectors. A real eye opener.
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. A book lover's delight with all its literary references, and a jolly good read. This Lebanese author gives wonderful insight into the Middle East - and is also beautifully written.
Oh no...I forgot Sonia Sotamayor's autobiography, Sonya Sotamayor: The True American Dream...
 
What's great or special about the Marion Library to you as a reader?

The Marion Library is one of my FAVORITE Libraries of all time. (and believe me, I know libraries: I carry five library cards in my wallet). It is a matter of the culture that is established: the librarians are helpful, friendly and make everyone feel welcome. That should be a given, but it's not. It's easy to browse. But most important is the culture. Did I mention that the librarians are helpful, friendly and make everyone feel welcome? Such is the way great libraries become great.

 

Joan Anderson

What books have been important to you (or, your favorites) and why?joan anderson

I read the Bible daily for purpose in my life. I never tire of the classics...To Kill a Mockingbird or Gone with the Wind. I like to hear about a movie or television show and find the book it's based upon. I'm on a quest for knowledge and examining historical events through non-fiction and fiction helps me understand the world around me. I pick up a book and travel to different times and places...I might not even be on the journey as myself.

Whatever I'm reading...is my favorite!

How would you describe your reading life?

I wouldn't describe my reading life as great...just voracious! Maybe even addictive. I read three books or more a week. I'm not fussy about genre...but lean towards historical fiction. I have always read...as a child I remember escaping the Iowa summer yearly on a trip to the Alps with Heidi. I was fortunate to become a middle school reading teacher and impact children with my love of reading. I liked finding reluctant readers and sharing with them a book that "fit just right". I still do that for my grands!

How do you find your next book? 

I choose books based on the staff picks at the library. I love the new book section. I read book reviews in the Gazette. I belong to two book clubs at the library...Food for Thought and Wit's End. I always read the yearly All Iowa Read and Linn Area Read selection.

What have you read lately that you'd recommend?

I like some authors: McCall-Smith, Macomber, Gregory. Next to Love, Feldman; Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots, Paul; American Anthem, Hoff; The Invention of Wings, Kidd; The Tilted World, Franklin and Fennelly; The House at Tyneford, Solomons; The Shoemakers Wife, Trigiani; The Beginner's Goodbye, Tyler; Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society, Hearth; Falling to Earth, Southwood...the list could go on and on!

What's great or special about the Marion Library to you as a reader?

I'm a reader of books...not a purchaser! The library feeds my habit! They always have the book I see in a review already on the shelf. I don't know who makes the selections, but they do a terrific job. I regularly put books on reserve. We have a wonderful, friendly resource and it's free! My husband and I enjoy the programming...everything from Master Gardeners, to eating my way around IA, to a tutorial on coffee, great music, live theater, or writer's workshops. I can't believe it's all here to share.

 

Liz Belden

What books have been important to you (or, your favorites) and why?liz belden

As a child books like LITTLE WOMEN, JANE EYRE, and the NANCY DREW series pulled me into other worlds. I later learned that inhaling series books is important for building lifetime readers. As a college student in a Western Civilizations class I met required books such as OEDIPUS REX, THE ODYSSEY, and THE INFERNO, which seemed right for me at that time. Now I tend to select quality literary fiction by favorite authors. One of my current favorites is Barbara Kingsolver's THE LACUNA with its emphasis on the lives of Mexico's great artists Frida Kahloe and Diego Rivera and on the historical events of the mid-twentieth century. Another powerful work is Louise Erdrich's THE ROUND HOUSE, which I read during the US Congress's debate about the Violence Against Women Act. Erdrich portrays the problem American Indian women have had being attacked on the reservation by outsiders but lack legal power to bring them to justice.

How would you describe your reading life?

I don't think of myself as a Great Reader, just a compulsive one who constantly finds books new to me, no matter when they were written. I started reading as a child and begged my parents for more books, something difficult for a depression farm family to provide. That led to a major in English Education, a career in teaching, and now in retirement more time to pursue a wide variety of books. I read every day but not nearly fast enough to complete everything I'd like. And I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with several book clubs, while saving time to read books of personal interest. But I read only one book at a time. See the June/July 2013 issue of BOOK WOMEN for a short description of how book clubs have broadened my reading interests.

How do you find your next book?

That's easy! I just look at the reading list for each book club. When those are finished I turn to book reviews in print and on line, as well as conversations with other book-reading friends. Also, as I read and find references to interesting people or titles, I spin off into more books. Other great sources are local book stores. And I frequently turn to another book by a favorite author such as David Rhodes, Louise Erdrich, Barbara Kingsolver, Gail Godwin, or Margaret Atwood. One of my winter projects was to choose an author and read everything that person has written.

What have you read lately that you'd recommend?

For people who read the NANCY DREW series as kids, try GIRL SLEUTH: NANCY DREW AND THE WOMEN WHO CREATED HER by Melanie Rehak. I learned a lot about the Stratemeyer syndicate and the process of publishing those books throughout the years. A dip into mythology/fantasy is beautifully done in Helene Wecker's THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, and of course I had to read Ray Bradbury's realistic FAREWELL SUMMER, the sequel to DANDELION WINE. Pearl buck's last novel (unfinished at the time of her death) is THE ETERNAL WONDER. I found it an inspiring message from a thoughtful writer in her elder years, and much more complex than THE GOOD EARTH. I still like to read good books for young adults. Just finished read THE LIGHTNING THIEF, the first volume of Rick Riordan's mythology-based series: PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS. Isabel Wilkerson's nonfiction THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS follows three African Americans as they migrate from the south, each to a different part of the country. A wonderful historical novel is Isabel Allende's ISLAND BENEATH THE SEA which features a plantation owner, his family and slaves living in the Dominican Republic. They survive the country's revolution and escape to New Orleans.

What's great or special about the Marion Library to you as a reader?

Marion Library's gifts are not only a welcoming environment with cheerful staff and a great collection of books and other resources, but I love the people I've met through book groups. I like the challenge Food for Thought presents of reading a book that fits each month's topic. And History Book Club keeps me on my toes reading books I might not otherwise select. Every month I pick up a copy of BOOK PAGE, one of my favorite resources for finding new books. (I have a drawer bulging with clipped book reviews for future reference!) And the Conference Room is just right for League of Women Voters Book Club and Food for Thought discussions.