I collected my commemorative mug (shown at right) from the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library this past Monday, the 4th of February. I completed the reading log form via the ‘While the City Sleeps’ web page, noting that three of the five books I’ve read in 2013 were suggested readings for the Library’s adult winter reading program. I surprised myself because I liked all three and gave each one a four star rating at GoodReads.
When I first reviewed the suggested readings list, I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me. I found three or four titles that might work so I placed them on hold in various formats.
I didn’t have to wait for one title, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. I found it available immediately as an audiobook via the Library’s Overdrive website. I checked it out and downloaded it to my new smartphone. One of the nice features of the Overdrive Android application is a sleep timer. I set the playback with a thirty minute timer and dozed off each evening to the soothing voice of the reader, extolling me with theology while providing a healing blessing to ease my trials and sufferings. None of the local book clubs opted to discuss Dark Night of the Soul, but one enterprising library technician is posting daily Lenten observances at his blog, All-Soulo.
The library didn’t own an electronic or audio version of Lost Moon, so I requested the print edition. I picked up the book on Friday, the 25th of January, and started reading it on Sunday, finishing it the following Friday. Even though I’ve seen the movie, Apollo 13, many times, I still found myself compelled to read way past my bedtime. I tried to limit myself to one chapter a night and refrained from carrying the hardcover edition back-and-forth to work. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s definitely more riveting. I hope to attend the ‘Read It/Watch It’ event on Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2013. I’m looking forward to lively conversation led by Katie Stover, Director of Readers’ Services, at the Waldo Branch. I will resist the urge to pull out my own DVD from my personal video library.
Concurrently, I listened to the audiobook of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as read by Jim Dale, known in other circles as the ‘voice’ of Harry Potter (winning numerous awards, including two Grammys). I’ve heard him read before (via one of the Potter books) and he is a delight to listen to. Even more delightful than Jim’s exceptional characterizations was the enthralling tale told by Morgenstern in The Night Circus. I found myself looking for excuses to continue listening, even though I wasn’t driving, or walking the dog, or cleaning house, or doing laundry. Of all the suggested readings, this one hit the spot perfectly. I highly recommend it. In less than a week, I will join the Women Who Dare Book Group at the Central Library for one of the three book discussions scheduled in February and March for The Night Circus.
I convinced my husband to read one of the books along with me. He prefers non-fiction titles, so I snagged a copy of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers from my local library while waiting for the hold I placed at the Plaza branch to come through. He’s already into the fourth chapter, while I have yet to start reading it. We both plan to attend the discussion for the newly formed Stranger Than Fiction book group, meeting for the first time on February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Plaza Branch. When I mention this book to friends and acquaintances, I hear nothing but good things. I should begin my cadaverous journey tomorrow evening while my husband is otherwise occupied with his band mates during band practice.
That leaves just one book on my hold list. Well, actually on two hold lists. I requested a print edition of Kansas City Noir, as well as the ebook edition. I’ve been waiting several days and I hope I get one of the editions checked out before the last book discussion arrives on March 9th. That’s when I plan to join the Heat of the Night book group at the Bluford Branch to discuss this anthology of ‘hard-used heroes and heroines [who] seem to live a lifetime in the stories…Each one seems almost novelistic in scope. Half novels-in-waiting, half journalistic anecdotes that are equally likely to appeal to Kansas City boosters and strangers.’ –Kirkus Reviews
And so I wrap up my winter reads like I wrap up in my favorite worn hand-me-down quilt: relaxed, satisfied and not too terribly sleep deprived, but still awake enough to enjoy some fresh brewed tea in a treasured mug memento.