Book shame

It’s time I made a confession. I, Dana Treichler, librarian and book nerd from Princeton Public Library, did not like “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the popular novel penned by Delia Owens. This book, which has influenced the publication of books of a similar nature, a Reese Witherspoon-backed film and 4.3 out of 5 stars from over 2 million reviews on Goodreads, was just not my cup of tea. In fact, I didn’t even finish it. And, you know what? There’s no shame in that.

For centuries, societal pressures have shaped what we “should” be reading. Something as personal as picking up a book to read is often done in private for fear of book shaming. Genres like romance, fantasy and graphic novels are often seen as less than. Adults who enjoy young adult books are being childish. And, those who listen to audiobooks aren’t really reading because audiobooks “don’t count.” Well, take it from me, a real-life librarian; they count and they all matter. 

Everyone’s reading preferences are entirely unique. Sure, we may agree from time to time on a beloved or hated book, but no two people have the same interests. Not even librarians. My colleagues and I have compiled staff picks lists and, while there are a few favorites that appear on more than one list, it is the diversity between the lists that makes them special. Kristin adores literary fiction. Gayle devours mysteries. Andrew has a penchant for poetry. And Nora delves into sci-fi and fantasy. Through these differences, we learn from each other, discover new and interesting reads outside our comfort zones, and increase our capacity to offer you, our community members, stellar recommendations. Here are a few recommendations I’ve loved from my fellow librarians:

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (recommended by Cassie) – An enemies-to-lovers romance where unlucky Olive must pretend to be married to Ethan, the bane of her existence, after lying to her new boss.

The Old Woman with the Knife by Gu Byeong-mo (recommended by Nora) – The story of a 65-year-old female assassin on the cusp of retirement who now faces a new threat. 

Writers and Lovers by Lily King (recommended by Kim) – Casey, a thirty-something former golf prodigy, is determined to find creative meaning in her messy life.

Normal People by Sally Rooney (recommended by Kristin) – A coming-of-age novel centered around Marianne and Connell as they attempt to navigate the ever-complicated and blurry line between love and friendship.

So pick up the children’s book you never read growing up, start the saucy romance novel, and feel free to put down the book that’s just not grabbing you. And be sure to check out our staff picks at the library, our online book lists or ask us for recommendations. We’re here to help.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

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