I don’t like November, and I never have. With its cold, blustery weather and darker days, November has always been gloomy for me. But this year, there’s a bright spot: we have been delighted to welcome our library volunteers back to work!
Library volunteers mean the world to us in many ways. The work they do at the library is invaluable, saving hundreds of hours of staff time and helping the library budget go thousands further than it would without them. They shelve books and find missing ones. They sort donations and organize the book sale. They help unpack book deliveries from Marigold Library System. They mend broken items. They support learners with tutoring. They deliver books to people who struggle to get to the library. Their faithful commitment enhances everything we do.
On a more personal level, we genuinely love our volunteers, and we have missed them deeply. Working together alongside them lifts everyone’s spirits. Their smiling faces can completely change the tone of a day.
Our library community is a family, and we were missing some of our best parts. To our volunteers, it is so good to have you back.
And of course, a good read can brighten up a gloomy day too! Here is what I have read last month:
- Predictably, my favourite book this month was Louise Penny’s new novel All the Devils Are Here. You only get about halfway through before you realize you are not going to be able to put it down. I love the pace of her storytelling, the setting, the insightful and relatable character development, and of course, the satisfying endings.
- One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten was an interesting experiment in storytelling. A date was drawn from a hat, and then the author tracked down as many interesting stories related to that day as he could find. It was an interesting read.
- The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths is the latest installment in the Ruth Galloway series. I didn’t think this was one of her stronger books, but fans of her series will enjoy it.
- Jack by Marilynne Robinson focuses in on a character who has had an elusive presence in her other novels, including Gilead which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Gilead is one of my favourite novels of all-time, so my expectations were high coming into this one. For a variety of reasons, I found this book difficult to read. I think the combination of my own reduced capacity for dense prose, new words, and few breaks (there are no chapters) and the internal and relentless focus on a lonely and alienated man to whom I did not relate made this a bit of a slog for me. I might need to give it another go when my children figure out how to sleep through the night again.
- The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde is a work of speculative fiction. It depicts a man and his daughter navigating drought-ravaged Europe in 2041 where fresh water is nearly impossible to find. This storyline alternates with a contemporary one in which a seventy year old climate activist does what she can to protect a glacier in Norway. This book was bleak but not without hope. The storylines were woven together beautifully.
- Finally, I don’t read much romance, but Love Walked In by Marisa De los Santos charmed me. This novel was light on the romance and heavy on character development and was a rewarding, easy read. The next book in the series is waiting for me on the holds shelf.
I hope you find joy to see you through this month, whether it’s a hot cup of tea out of your favourite cup, a video call with loved ones, an old-fashioned letter in the mail, or getting lost in a really good story. Take care.