Support your public libraryBy AMANDA SEXTON FERGUSON,
Monday, the Winona Friends of the Library will host one of my favorite events of the year, the annual Taster’s Luncheon, set to begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Moore Memorial United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center. Mississippi author Janet W. Ferguson will be the special guest speaker for this year’s luncheon that is themed, “Southern Gems.”
If you have never attended the Taster’s Luncheon, I urge you to get a ticket before they are all gone. Not only do you get to enjoy wonderful food and an entertaining talk from a Mississippi author, but your presence will help improve the many services offered by the Winona-Montgomery Public Library.
For regular readers of this column, you know how much I love to read. It is my sole hobby and what I feel is the best way to while away a lazy afternoon.
Now that I am a mother – with my husband and me kept busy chasing a rather precocious four-year-old – I don’t get to spend time reading like I did in the past. There is no longer time to read an entire book in one sitting, much less a few chapters each night. I have resorted to listening to audio books in my car as I drive to work and travel here and there covering the news.
And guess what? The library has audio books that can be checked out as well, and a pretty good selection of them as well. And for those of you who haven’t checked out Hoopla, the new digital media service offered by the library, you need to check it out. It is a treasure trove of eBooks, audio books, and streaming movies to enjoy.
Now that my son has gotten old enough to understand – and repeat everything he hears – listening to thrillers and murder mysteries aren’t appropriate with their adult themes and sometimes adult language. These days, Dean and I listen to books together. We are nearly finished with the final book of the Harry Potter series – both of us thoroughly enjoying Harry’s story.
I think we will conquer the The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis or the A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
As a child, I loved listening to books being read by my mother and teachers. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Mac, introduced me to The Moffats by Eleanor Estes and her series about the adventures of the Moffat siblings and my favorite, Rufus, who is mischievous like my own child.
Mrs. Mac also introduced me to one of my favorite books of all time, James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl. I came to love most of Dahl’s books, but James will always be my favorite.
As I grew older, I was introduced to a variety of Southern authors, and I loved that I could relate to a book’s setting, culture, and language. These books were like reading stories told by one of my great aunts or a favorite cousin weaving tall tales.
I still lean toward books by Southern authors, and some of my favorite authors these days include Greg Isles of Natchez (The Natchez Burning series) and Joselyn Jackson from Georgia (God’s Of Alabama and Between, Georgia).
Now that I listen a lot more now that my reading has transitioned almost entirely to audio, I am enjoying psychological thrillers and murder mysteries written by British authors Ruth Ware (In A Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10) and Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train and Into the Water). And I can’t forget Australian author Laine Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secrets – both of which I sat a few minutes longer in my car, engrossed in the stories.
I do miss turning the crisp pages of a book, with that unmistakable smell of ink and clean paper, and there are some books that just aren’t adaptable to audio. I loved Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, with its snippets of emails, newspaper clippings, and other tidbits that gave the story such great depth, but I wish I would have read the book instead of listening to the audio. So for Semple’s next novel, Today Will Be Different, I decided to read the actual book, written in the same style and hilarious flair, and I’m glad I did.
Now that summer is just around the corner, I’ll step away from audio books and delve into the real thing. I love visiting the library just before my family and I take a trip to the lake, checking out two or three to enjoy on the drive (my husband doesn’t do audio books) and on the deck as the sun sets on Lake Hamilton.
As for what style, I always cross between literary fiction and popular fiction. I will always love a good mystery, and there is nothing like re-reading a classic. It is like being re-acquainted with an old friend.
My love of reading was stoked through trips to the public library with my mother, another voracious reader. The idea that if I had the fancy, I could read every single book in the building – armed with nothing but a vivid imagination and a library card.
And if I didn’t enjoy a certain book, I’d simply drop it in the return slot and find another one with amazing possibilities. Life is much too short for bad books.
For my fellow readers, I urge you to support your public library. Not only do they provide books to check out and read to your heart’s content, but there are so many other services offered, to people of all ages.
Fellow parents, I hope you take advantage of the many programs offered for your kids. The summer reading program, dial a story, Christmas parties, and other special events make children look forward to trips to the library, and by spending time in the library, their love of reading can be nurtured – something that has definitely enhanced my life.