What’s Caroleen Burroughs Reading?

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Photo credit: Ryan Sumner, Fenix Fotography

When we learned that Library Foundation friend and supporter Caroleen Burroughs read 137 books last year, we had to ask for a few recommendations! Here’s what she said:

As social media has grown to a daily habit and technology leaves us constantly connected, I find that reading is my refuge and escape from the never-ending noise and distractions. At the same time, it’s the technology that allows me to easily track and read books online quicker and more conveniently than ever. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library app makes reserving and downloading ebooks a breeze.

Even though I was a late adopter of e-reading, I find myself opting for the ebook version first. I have a Kindle Paperwhite just for reading – no apps, no notifications, no distractions. It’s lightweight, backlit, glare-free, and makes reading anywhere anytime so convenient. I can also carry a variety of books without adding any more weight to my bag!  

My cousin Lenny introduced me to Goodreads, an online place to track your reading, read book reviews, and see what your friends and others are currently reading. My Kindle automatically syncs with Goodreads so tracking my progress is super easy. Goodreads encourages that you set Reading Challenges for how many books you’ll read each year. In the first year, I set a goal of 40 books which I acheived and each year after, I kept increasing my goal. Last year was my banner year with 137 books read in 2019! 

Similar to the way some folks binge watch TV series on Netflix, I binge-read authors. I’ll run across a great author and then want to hunt down every book they’ve ever written. A few of those fiction authors include Kristin Hannah, Ann Patchett, Jenny Han, and Elin Hilderbrand. Thank goodness Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has such a great Inter-Library Loan system to help me track down those older obscure books!

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottleib: This came as a recommendation from a fellow library loving friend.  It caught me by surprise how much I enjoyed it. It’s a non-fiction book by a therapist describing being in therapy interwoven with stories about her own patients. You learn early on that the author is a writer first and a therapist second. The stories are so wonderfully told that you are instantly engaged and intrigued. It’s like getting to peek in the mind of a person who peeks in other people’s minds for a living. The author is making the podcast and talk show circuit now and the book is turning into a TV series starring Eva Longoria. 

The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson:  As a native Charlottean, I grew up reading the Charlotte Observer including the author’s regular column. Through a CM library event, I got to hear the author read a passage and discuss his work. This book is so raw and touches on emotional issues that we all face in one way or another. To read a book so personal and told in such a beautiful yet genuine way is a real treat. This is not your typical diet book! 

Calypso by David Sedaris:  Another great resource at the library is the ease of downloading audiobooks. I love jumping in my car and listening to the next hilarious autobiographical story read by David Sedaris himself. Similar to the Seinfeld TV show, we’re getting a glimpse of the author’s everyday life told in a way that leaves you laughing all throughout the day!

The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood:  Even though I’m 35 years late in reading The Handmaid’s Tale (and no, I haven’t seen the TV series either), the book is still powerful and relevant today. I quickly grabbed the sequel, The Testaments, from the library and devoured it to find out how the story unfolded for Gilead. I love reading the dystopian genre and alternate futures especially since they may not be as far off as we think! 

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