Kathryne LeFevre, Senior Library Technician at the Engineering Library, has been an avid reader since childhood. Both her mother and grandmother were teachers and encouraged her to read. When Kathryne and I spoke she shared a bit about her influences early on that led her to be a reader, her most recent reads (and why she is reading these books), and some about her favorite books and more.
Currently, Kathryne is reading two books: The Hobbit and Les Miserables. She told me this was unusual for her, usually she likes to read one at a time, but in this case she wanted to read two books she had not read previously before she saw the movies. When we chatted, Kathryne was close to finishing up The Hobbit and was surprised at how much she enjoyed it. Kathryne first read the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy during a class she took. She did not enjoy that book much, but got into it enough by the end that she did go on to read the other two. Because of that experience, she wasn't expecting to like The Hobbit. She told me that it was fun to go back and read Bilbo’s story. Although she’s not normally a big fan of fantasy, she would recommend this book to other non-fantasy fans. She’s looking forward to seeing the movie very soon!
Her second book is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, which she is finding much harder to get into. She’s only about 100 pages in and so far it has mostly just been on the history of the Bishop. She is familiar with the story from the music of the musical and she’s familiar with the genre, but she’s definitely ready to get more into the story itself. Despite her usual preference to read the book before seeing the movie, Kathryne went ahead and saw this movie rather than try and finish the book first. She still intends to finish the book.
Kathryne’s favorite genre is probably young adult literature. She finds that she enjoys the emotion and angst of these kinds of stories, but especially loves that despite the teenage angst of many of the characters there is always an element of hope for a brighter and better future. And as an added bonus, Young Adult Lit is usually cleaner than most books directed toward an adult audience. In speaking about favorite genres and the types of stories Kathryne enjoys, she also mentioned that it is the characters that really draw her into the stories, as was the case in The Hobbit.
But she is also open to branching out as well in her reading interests. She had always avoided Jane Austen novels and other similar type books until more recently. At the encouragement of her mother, she finally agreed to read them as part of a family book club. So over the course of a year she and her family read all 6 of Jane Austen’s novels. She now is willing to admit that she is a Jane Austen fan. Plus, the family book club was a lot of fun. Kathryne said it was a fun experience to share with her three sisters and brother the things they were reading.
I found that discussing books with Kathryne always led us to talk about more books. She shared that her favorite book is The Summer of my German Soldier, which she first read in the 6th grade and has read several times since then. Although she was already an avid reader by then, this was the first book with which she felt an emotional draw to the characters. When asking Kathryne about any books that she has never been able to finish, she shared that she has a goal to read all the books that have won the Newbery Medal from 1922 to the present. It was the book that first won this prestigious award in 1922 that she has found to be very difficult. The book, The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon, is probably the only book that she has attempted several times and cannot get through it. It is boring and dull in her opinion. But, of course, I then had to ask her if she had a favorite so far of the Newbery Medal winners that she has read. Kathryne said the 1999 winner, Holes by Louis Sacher, is her favorite so far. It was fun and a pretty good read. And yes, she also saw the movie.
Kathryne told me that she reads about 24 books a year, about 2 a month. She sometimes uses the website Goodreads to read reviews and see what her friends are reading. This website allows you to post the books you have read, write reviews, and see what books your friends are reading. Kathryne has discovered some books this way that she may not have learned about otherwise. One book she discovered this way is Divergent by Veronica Roth, a post-apocalyptic story. She finds Goodreads to be a good tool, although she hasn't used it as much as she would like to.
Kathryne is definitely an avid reader and enjoys finding new books to read and sharing recommendations with others. If you’re looking for a new book, have a chat with Kathryne, she would probably have a recommendation for you.