Our featured Reviewer for August 2008 is Donna G. Donna works at the Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries as part of the library system's Virtual Services department, and her reviews show up regularly on our Staff Recommendations displays and on the BookGuide web site. Reading has always been important to Donna, as she indicated in her answers to our questions about books and reading:
Would you care to share any personal info with our readers -- such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, etc.?
I grew up on a farm near Friend, Nebraska. My mother took me to the library when we drove to town to shop. At the library I met the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I devoured these books along with the Happy Hollisters, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Cherry Ames, Sue Barton and the Black Stallion series. I then moved on to Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier and the Brontes.
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that "made you a reader"?
I think that I have always been fascinated by words. Learning to read opened a whole new world for me. The mysteries that I read as a child instilled my love of mysteries. Certain books still stand out in my mind - Rebecca, Jane Erye, Gone With the Wind and the Nancy Drew books.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
Reading books is very important to me. I always have three books going. One at home, one that I read while I work out on the Stairmaster and one that I carry with me to read at lunch and while I wait for appointments.
How do you select what books to read next?
I read reviews in the newspaper and online. I get recommendations from my friends and from the Just Desserts book club members. I also pick up books that have an intriguing title or appealing cover and read the summary on the book flap.
What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?
I love to share my love of books with people. Writing book reviews and making recommendations give me the chance tell people about books I enjoy.
Are there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you'd like to share with our readers?
My country schoolteacher, Mrs. Hasseler, read books to us everyday after lunch. One of the books that stand out in my mind is Swiss Family Robinson. A Disney movie based on this book came out shortly after she read it and Mrs. Hasseler took my school to see the movie in York.
If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
Archer Mayor. He writes a police procedural series set in Vermont. Mayor says that each book is a chapter in a never-ending series. The characters grow and the crimes they solve change as the social issues Vermont faces change. In the first book, Open Season, we meet police Lieutenant Joe Gunther who has to find out why the members of a past trial jury are being targeted by a masked man. The crimes that Gunther solves in succeeding books evolve to Internet predators in his latest book Chat.
Booklists from Book Talks presented by Donna:
Mysteries by New Authors [May 2006]
The Not-so-Quiet Countryside [May 2007]
Passport to Peril: International Mysteries [May 2008]
East Coast Crime [May 2009]
Africa - The Dark Continent [May 2011]
Recommendations From Donna [May 2013]
Podcasts that Donna participated in:
'Casting About, Program 10 [August 2008]
'Casting About, Program 11 [August 2008]
'Casting About, Program 16 [September 2008]
'Casting About, Program 48 [August 2009]
Posted to the BookGuide site in August 2008