Friday, June 1, 2012

Reading and books for the 118th Carnival of Genealogy

For over 30 years, I worked in a public library so I would be remiss if I didn't write something about books and reading.

My mother liked to read. I do not know if books were plentiful when she was growing up on the Manitoulin Island but I know she loved it when she came to Owen Sound to finish her high school that there was a public library here. In those days, you were limited to the number of books you could borrow at a time, so she was a regular visitor as she soon had read her selections. She kept for quite a few years, a small notebook with a list of what she had read. I don't know if I still have it. It could be in one of the unpacked boxes.

My mom and dad also purchased the condensed Reader's Digest books -- a way to read many of the popular books when you didn't have a lot of time. When they had the supermarket, they worked long hours. When I travelled with my parents to some Caribbean Islands, we would spend many hours reading and relaxing.

I had a library card as a child but I don't recall titles from the early years. My siblings and I had a small collection of books. I remember as a pre-teen and teen, curling up with books at the cottage, especially on a rainy day. I read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Sue Barton nurse stories and Cherry Ames.

The first five years working at the library, I spent in children's services. Oh how I loved reading the picture books to the children in the pre-school group, "My Mother and I'. As part of my reader's advisory work, I needed to know the collection, so it was my delight to bring home children's books to read.

I have found since I got interested in genealogy, my reading has changed from reading mostly fiction to reading more non-fiction books, journals and magazines. In fiction, I enjoy mysteries, historical fiction and family stories. My personal library collection consists mainly of reference type material relating to genealogy and local history.

When I retired, I joined a book club, which has introduced me to some authors that I would not likely have picked up, but I have really enjoyed reading. During the year, we have several months where it is reader's choice: a particular author or a summer read. For the other months, a variety of books are chosen. The group purchases with our monthly fee several copies of each title that are shared amongst our small group. This year, to encourage more discussion, we are taking turns on being the discussion leader. So far this has been working out well. We also love to eat and chat about what is going on.

One book on our reading list was Kate Grenville's The Secret River, an historical fiction based on her great-great-great grandfather. This lead me to read Searching for the Secret River: a Writing Memoir. This is a book I would recommend to genealogists and local historians as it describes her research process in Australia and England to get the background story of her ancestor.

© 2012 Janet Iles Print


  1. Janet, I do believe you are the only COG participant who mentioned belonging to a book club. I always thought that would be so cool! I did drop in to a local book club one time but found the club members spent more time gossiping about fellow members than they did about books. That really turned me off and I never went back. It's so nice to hear that you enjoy your book club. Good for you! Thanks for sharing and for participating in the COG!

  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing.

  3. I liked your description of you book club. I have often toyed with joining a book club, but somehow never have taken the leap --- tho my critique group sometimes has attributes of a book club. Also, I liked the idea of the group purchase of books. You just might be the impetus that I need to make the leap. Thanks.


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