The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 5, 2013

Jacque Gage: Unfinished books fill nightstand

By Jacque Gage
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — When I started up my computer this morning a reminder popped up that this was my week to submit a book review to The Joplin Globe. I panicked.

My panic was a result of having no book to review. It's been such a busy month that I can't remember finishing even one recently. How can that be? Isn't reading all librarians do?

It's not that I haven't been reading. I have been. I just have too many books in progress. Therefore, this article will give you a glimpse into the different books I am concurrently reading. (My husband says I read lots of books at the same time, but I didn't believe him until I started writing down titles. He's right!)

So, in no particular order, here's a glimpse into what's on my nightstand, on my car stereo, in the back seat of my car, on my dining room table and even on my dryer right now.

"Too Much Information," by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum. Barnes and Ambaum are the creators of an online comic strip about libraries. Their strip makes fun of libraries, library policies, library administrators (ouch!) and even library patrons. They are spot-on about what happens in libraries. The library doesn't have this volume, but has another one of their books, "Book Club: an Unshelved Collection."

"Rotters," by Daniel Kraus is from the library's young adult collection. It tells the tale of Joey, whose mother dies. He is sent from his Chicago home to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never met. That's as far as I've gotten.

I understand the rest of the book deals with Joey becoming a town and school outcast based solely on the fact he's related to the town garbage man (who also robs graves). We'll see if I make it all the way through.

"The New Testament," by various authors. During my morning commute I frequently listen to the "Word of Promise" audio version of the Bible. Using a dramatic audio theater performance format, the text of the Bible is read by a star-studded cast. Sound effects and music add to the experience. The library has this in the New King James Version.

"Candy Freak," by Steve Almond. Almond is a self-admitted candy addict. (I can identify. My chocolate addiction was passed to me by my mother!) He enters the reader into a virtual Candy Land, writing about candies from bygone eras, candy history and candy makers. What was once an industry with many small candy makers has now become an industry of conglomerates.

"Not a Fan," by former Joplin resident Kyle Idleman. The library doesn't have this book, but I am still reading it. "Not a Fan" asks the question of Christians, "Are you only a Ôfan' of Jesus, or are you a committed Ôfollower' of Him?" And there is a difference. The book is easily read and asks the reader tough questions.

"Game," by Barry Lyga. "Game" is the sequel to Lyga's book "I Hunt Killers." Jazz was brought up by his father to follow in his dad's career: serial killing. The series is like a wreck -- you know you don't need to gawk and stare, but you keep turning your head back to it. I had to return "Game" unfinished (those darned due dates), but I have placed a hold on it. I need to know Jazz turns out OK. (And I sure hope he does!)

"The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Project that Give Old Books New Life," by Lisa Occhipinti. I borrowed this book through interlibrary loan and liked it well enough that the library will be getting its own copy. It shows many different craft projects to make from repurposed books -- shelves, lampshades, storage containers and objets d'art.

"When Love Blooms," by Robin Lee Hatcher. Emily Harris wants to make a difference in someone's life. She knows there is more than her privileged life has shown her so far. She answers an ad to become a teacher in the back country of Idaho for two young girls whose mother is dying. Can she make it in that environment? Will the girls' father ever quit hating Emily? OK, so I figured out the answers from about page four, but I'll finish it.

There are the eight books I'm currently reading. Surely one of these books might interest you as well. If not, the library has more than 100,000 other titles for your reading pleasure and information.

Jacque Gage is director of the Joplin Public Library.