Local Librarians Share Favorite Books
Libraries are magical places filled with knowledge and entertainment of every conceivable category, and while they also offer a wealth of services besides lending books, we thought we’d go old school and ask a few librarians for some recommendations.
Amy Dickinson has served as the Teen Services Librarian at the Montrose Regional Library since May of 2020 and thinks being a librarian is the best job a person ever could have. Prior to becoming a librarian, she worked for over 15 years as an educator in western Massachusetts; Yuty, Paraguay; and Washington, DC.
"If you like frontier stories with a tinge of survivalism, especially in the summer, try “How Much of These Hills Is Gold” by C Pam Zhang. Told from a perspective often absent in tales of settlement of the West, the book narrates the story of a Chinese-American laborer family. Orphaned siblings Lucy and Sam have vowed to provide a proper burial for their prospector father. As they struggle to fulfill their vow, and to survive, secrets of their family’s recent past are revealed and potential futures explored. The book has it all: vivid history, adventure, a touch of the fantastical, and writing that cuts right through the reader."
"As the nights get longer, I’d recommend Rumaan Alam’s “Leave the World Behind.” The novel opens quietly in the present: a white family travels to a vacation rental in the Hamptons for a week of relaxation. On night two of their getaway, a late-night knock on the door is answered to reveal the home’s owners, an older black couple who fled the city due to a far-reaching blackout. At the vacation house, too, they realize the phones, TV, and internet are down. The book is a masterpiece of tension, building from racial and class tension into an atmosphere of dread as the families struggle to understand what might have occurred in the wider world. Perfect for reading on a dark, cool night."
Leah Morris started working in libraries at age 15, shelving books at her local public library. Her passion for libraries carried her through a number of different library jobs, until she settled at Delta County Libraries 15 years ago. She now maintains the library district’s collection of print and electronic resources.
"Heated, thoughtful, and intense, “Body of Stars,” by Laura Maylene Walter, is a good match for scalding summer days. This coming-of-age story brings a science-fiction twist to contemporary society in order to contemplate challenging subjects like women’s rights and gender expectations. The approach is intriguing and the book is a fairly quick read, but the questions it raises are sure to linger."
"As fall weather starts to bring cooler temps, it is appealing to curl up with an epic novel about the west. “Dancing at the Rascal Fair,” by Ivan Doig, is a wonderfully-written novel about settlement in Montana in the nineteenth century. The book touches on love, hard work, immigration, and loss, and includes interesting details about the conflicts between sheep herding and cattle ranching at the time. Doig created such beautifully crafted sentences that certain parts of the story require repeated reading in order to fully appreciate their intricacies."
John Arenas is originally from Maryland. He moved to Montrose to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Hispanic Affairs Project non-profit. He started working at the Montrose Regional Library in March 2020. He is currently an adult services librarian.
"Residents of the Uncompahgre Valley are no strangers to the magical allure of the forest, but in The “Stolen Child” by Keith Donohue, the woods take on a supernatural character that might keep you a bit more vigilant on your next hike. Donohue’s novel tells the story of seven-year-old Henry Day, who is stolen from his family by a group of immortal forest-dwelling changelings. They rename him Aniday, and replace him with one of their own to live a mortal life as Henry Day. Strangers to their new selves and surroundings, both boys must come to terms with their new identities, all while struggling to hold on to the memories of their past lives. An enchanting blend of fantasy and reality."
"Trail running is very popular in the valley, and although you don’t need to be a runner to appreciate “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, runners will perhaps be able to identify with Murakami a little bit more. In it, the fiction writer chronicles his experiences as he trains for the New York Marathon while reflecting on the complementary natures of running and writing and what he has learned from them over the course of his life. At the same time, the author finds himself in the autumn years of his life with his pace and race times no longer what they once were, and so begins to contemplate what it means to age gracefully. Understated and introspective, this memoir is a great fall read for both runners and walkers alike."