Name: Mikale Fenton
Job Title: Community Librarian
Best book I have read this year: This is a tough one! I think that I’d have to say Rachel Cusk’s “The Outline”. At its core it’s about a woman who travels to Greece to teach a writing course, and the mostly one-sided conversations she has with the people she encounters along the way. While it may not sound like much, the novel is written with such delicate precision that through each fascinating conversation Cusk explores philosophical questions and universal themes surrounding relationships, memory and interpretation. I’ve heard mixed reviews for this book, but personally I was devastated when it was over.
On a side note, although I tend to gravitate mainly towards literary fiction I’m also a complete junkie for dystopic fantasy and thoroughly enjoyed Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven”, a quiet and dark dystopic tale set in the familiar Great Lakes landscape. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a more mature entry into the apocalypse genre.
I will read any book by: John Valliant, Joan Didion, Michael Ondaatje, Joseph Boyden, John Steinbeck, & Haruki Murakami.
Best place to curl up with a book on a rainy day: Currently my favorite reading nook is in my new apartment on the couch nestled in with the radio, my house cat and an endless supply of licorice spice tea!
Best place to lounge with a book in the sun: I spend a lot of time camping and hiking on the North Shore mountains and on the west coast of Vancouver Island where I always make sure to bring my book along. That being said, I think some of my most memorable and sureal reading sessions have been atop of a BC ferries sundeck battling with cross winds while keeping an eye out for marine life.
A book I know I should read, but haven’t: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I’ve had it on my nightstand for longer than I’d care to admit, but I always seem to come up with an excuse to read something else. The shame…. the shame…
The book I push on all my friends because it is soooooooo good: A good friend recently referred to me as an “audiobook evangelist” after listening to me preach the same tired sermon about the library’s incredible collection of downloadable e-audiobooks and how to find the goodies. Like anyone, I have a hard time finding as much time as I’d like to read, however as an avid runner and cyclist audiobooks are my go-to. Top recommendations: the audiobook version of “World War Z” is enough to make anyone an audio convert. As an “oral history” told from the perspectives of a dozen Zombie apocalypse survivors (just bear with me), this audiobook takes advantage of its format by employing dozens of A-list actors to narrate each chapter with their own unique voice and dialect. Trust me and skip the terribly-adapted movie, all you need are headphones to enjoy this story.
For classics, one of my favourite books of all time is “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. I feel like this book is as close to perfection as a novel could possibly be. It’s a beautifully-written, sprawling epic about three generations of two families in California’s Salinas Valley who inadvertently re-enact the story of Cain and Abel.
Where you can find me: When not out in the community, I spend my Fridays and Saturdays helping library customers choose their next read at on the Reader’s Advisory desk and the 3rd floor Info desk here at NVCL.
I love to talk books and would love to hear from you. Tweet me at @mikalefenton and tell me what you’re reading!