Hello internet world! It’s been awhile, and things have changed a tad, so let me catch you up. Life at the library has been exciting, especially for our previous Head Librarian who, you may have heard, won the lottery and ran off into the sunset to enjoy it. We miss her, but when our Assistant Librarian put on her Head Librarian hat we knew that we’d enjoy our new leader just as much. In the whirlwind of excitement, we forgot about this little corner of the world, our blog, where we talk to you. We’ve settled in now though, and we’re excited to be back on our feet blog-wise. Let me introduce myself, I’m Aubrey, the Assistant Librarian. Now. Down to business.

How do you pick your books? Do you wander aimlessly down the genre aisle of your choice, waiting for something to catch your eye? Do you keep a hawk-eye out for anything new by your (extensive) list of favourite authors, even though they never write fast enough to keep you sated? Do you come armed with a list of suggestions from friends, ever trusting in their literary tastes? Or perhaps do you take your advice from the vast expanse of the internet, with their “best books of 2016” lists? Some of you may even ask a Librarian, “Hey, I really liked this one book, can you tell me others that are similar?”

I’m curious. I myself, am an emotional chooser. I have the benefit of seeing many books come across my desk at work, and when I see one that my heart leaps at, I read that one. Of course I’ve got my favorite authors but I read plenty of new ones. Sometimes I’ll take a book home and realize that’s not the one I’m feeling today, so I go back and try again with a different one, until I find the one that my heart wants to snuggle up to with a warm cup of tea. This gives me what I believe to be a relatively diverse range of books, as my emotional book moods are as varied as my general moods. There is a beautiful rainbow spectrum in both that keeps my life interesting.

But I’ve been thinking lately that I don’t pick my choices very thoughtfully, or deliberately, and maybe it would be interesting to try a different way. Here at the library we’ve got two different ways for you to try something new for 2016. We’re not saying you have to stick with it, but maybe it would be interesting to see if you like it.

The first is “Blind Date With A Book”, which is running all February in honour of both Valentine’s Day and I Love To Read Month. You can pick a random book, pick by genre, or browse the subject headings for one that sounds interesting, but that’s the most you’ll get. They’re wrapped up prettily with some fantastic doodling on the front, so you can’t see the name of the book. You’ll have to take a chance. If you hate it, you can stop reading it. If you read it all the way through and want to “rate your date”, we’ll give you the chance to win a prize pack from the library. We love this. We think it’s a fun way to potentially branch out of your normal reading habits, and it can be fun to find something new.

blind date

The second option we’ve got going is something I discovered off of the bookriot site (http://bookriot.com/2015/12/15/2016-book-riot-read-harder-challenge/). They’ve posted a “Read Harder Challenge” for 2016. It’s a thing they do every year, releasing different categories that they challenge you to read a book that fits into it. There are 24 challenges, which means 2 books a month if you want to read the whole list, but some are easy like, “read a middle grade novel,” “read a play,”, “read a book under 100 pages”. Those balance out the ones that may take a little more time, like, “Read a book over 500 pages.” I’m going to take this challenge, because with categories like, “Read a non-fiction book about science” and “Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia,” I’m going to have to branch out, and pick my books a little more thoughtfully than normal. I’m really excited to see how this goes, and if you’re interested in joining me on my adventure, take a look at our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/JakeEppLibraryReadHarder2016/ where you can chat with others considering tackling the challenge. I’ve posted the list of challenges there too so you can see the whole thing.

So let me know, how do you pick your books? And if you come by my corner of the world, feel free to stop by my office and chat books, I can help you find some suggestions to fit the list if you’re wanting to tackle it.

About the Authors

Hi - my name is Carolyn Graham and I am the Head Librarian and I love my job! One of the best parts of my job is that I am the first one to see all the beautiful new books as they arrive. I have always loved to read and my favorite way to relax is with a good book. I strongly believe that having good reading skills is an integral part of all learning. Being able to share good books and authors that I have enjoyed is great fun. Feel free to come and ask for suggestions.

Hi - I’m Aubrey Walker, Assistant Librarian at the Jake Epp Library. I’m a librarian and coffee guzzler by day, a reader and tea sipper by night. Reading and writing (and talking endlessly about both) are passions of mine, so I’m rather lucky to have a job where those things are relevant and important. I’m also the voice behind our Facebook page, and I love connecting with people about books both online and off.

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