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How We Read: Books = Comfort

The Books We Read Blog is conducting a series of interviews with contributors and friends of the blog to get a snapshot of our reading habits: the things we like to read, the circumstances in which we read, and more.

Stephanie Bartz is the Government Resources and Information Services Librarian at Rutgers-New Brunswick Libraries. She splits her time between Alexander Library and the Library of Science and Medicine.

FlowerWhat kinds of books do you like to read?
I read mysteries more than anything else, but I like to read a variety of things, and often more than one at a time. So far in 2022, I’ve read mysteries, steampunk, humor, memoir, and local history.

Do you have format preferences (print, ebook, audiobook, abridged, original language/translated, etc.)?
Print is always my first choice, and complete, never abridged. I have more than one e-reader, but if there’s a print book at hand, it almost always wins out. I also listen to audios, but generally only for books that I’ve already read.

How do you find new books to read?
It’s hard to know where to start with this question. I’m always on the lookout for new books. I get them from conversations with friends, television shows, favorite authors, a variety of book related mailing lists/newsletters such as Goodreads and Criminal Element, walking through the stacks at the library, book-related catalogs, movies based on books, and probably many other places I’m not thinking of.

Where and when do you read? Outdoors or indoors? At home or out and about? Mornings, evenings, or just before bed?
The answer to the first question is everywhere and any time. For the rest, YES! I most often read indoors in one of several favorite spots, but I’ve also been known to sit on the steps or carry a chair outside on a nice day. Most of my reading is done at home, but if I’m going anywhere that might involve waiting or similar downtime, I carry a book with me so I’m always prepared when the opportunity to read arises. Time is irrelevant as far as reading goes. When the mood strikes and I have the opportunity, I read.

Do you use any libraries or library resources for non-required reading?
I don’t make nearly enough use of library resources because I like being able to own the books I read. I reread extensively, and when I read something that I don’t expect to want to read a second time, I pass the book on to someone else or donate it.

What do you get out of your non-required reading?
Books = comfort. They’re a means of relaxation and sometimes outright stress relief. They bring back memories of childhood. They’re also entertainment, and, since I generally read print books, a chance to get away from all things digital. I also learn something from almost every book I read regardless of genre.

What are you currently reading, or what have you read and enjoyed most recently?
I’m currently reading Death at the Château Bremont by M.L. Longworth. It’s the first in a series of mysteries set in the Provençal region of France. I’m enjoying it, so I’ll add the later titles to my list of new things to read. The series I like even better is Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police series. They’re also mysteries and are also set in France. They’re what led me to the Longworth series.

Recommend a book in one sentence that you think everyone should read:
For a bit of escapism and a different perspective on life, read A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle.


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