How do you read these days? – Daily newsletter



How do you like to read?

For some, these are just physical books. I have a friend who says he only reads hard covers while another sticks to soft covers for size and price. Others have gone completely digital on a Kindle, Nook or iPad; apps like Libby, hoopla and cloudLibrary have transformed pandemic-shuttered libraries into 24/7 branches. (Speaking of libraries, check out who we have for our Q&A this week…)

And audiobooks – are you plugged in or off? Not only have smartphones broken the cheesy book-on-tape stigma they once had, but audiobooks are also the fastest growing segment of the book industry.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Courtesy of Bloomsbury)

Years ago I was enamored with the audiobooks of Susanna Clarke’s amazing “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” nearly 33 hours in length, narrated by Simon Prebble, which I listened to on the way home while working late at night. (Yes, it was a CD at the time.) But I was pretty sure I’d never find the time for Clarke’s nearly 800-page historical fantasy unless a nice person gave it to me. read. So that’s now my main reason for being a listener: if I suspect I’ll ever be able to read a book I’m interested in, I’ll listen while I’m doing chores or walking the dog.

Plus, as some listeners will privately admit, the adjustable speed capabilities of audiobooks are a welcome way to get through slow parts that might otherwise stop you and a useful way to speed up a player more deliberately. rhythm.

I mean, that’s what I hear. I will not do it. (Cough.)

Another way to get your book fix? Read and be read, which remains one of the best ways to share a story, whether it’s to a child or your partner. Is it a lost art – or just one that isn’t talked about that much? Email me.

You probably won’t be surprised that I’m completely in favor of all of the above, and that I use pretty much all of these methods. There are many ways to read and – spoiler alert – there’s no wrong way to do it.

I had actually planned to write about something completely different this week, but it all came to mind when a colleague shared her experience of reading a physical book for the first time in a few years.

You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote about picking up a Blind Date Book at The Ripped Bodice for my colleague Vanessa Franko, and she has been reading it ever since.

Here’s what she had to say about the book and the experience:

All I want for Christmas is a Jessica Clare cowboy. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

Vanessa Franko, Director of Digital Entertainment, writes:

I had a big surprise when I opened my blind date book, which turned out to be “All I want for Christmas is a cowboy”. The plot was exactly as the blurb described – it was no surprise.

Here’s what was unexpected: it was the first physical book I had read after two years of reading exclusively on my phone and iPad, and now I understand viral videos of toddlers getting very confusing when you put a physical magazine in front of them.

• I have a whole new appreciation for digital bookmarks. I know I have physical bookmarks at home. Could I find them? Nope. Did I put the book down and quickly lost my place? Yeah.

• Falling asleep with a book can lead to injury if you drop it on your face (luckily it was a paperback) and lose your place again. (See above.)

• However, snuggling up on the couch on a sunny afternoon with a physical book is still one of life’s great simple pleasures. And a physical book is far superior because you never have to worry about glare.

Thanks Vanessa! What do you think is the best way to read? Email me at [email protected] and share some of the comments in a future newsletter.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


John F. Szabo is the City Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. (Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library)

LA City Librarian John F. Szabo Reveals the Author Who Made Him Star

John F. Szabo is the City Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. As he shares in his official biography, he oversees the central library and 72 branch libraries, which serve 4 million people – the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the country – and its budget of over $200. millions of dollars. Here, he reveals an impactful book, reading recommendations, and the author who made him famous. To learn more about the library, visit

Q. Is there anyone who has impacted your life as a reader? a teacher, parent, librarian or someone else?

Absoutely. Anne Searcy, my high school English teacher, had an annual classroom tradition where she read the Truman Capote short story “A Christmas Memory” to one of her classes. With a few pages to go, she broke down crying something easy to do if you know the story, and I guess it happened to him every time he read it. She asked me to finish it and I did. Now I try to read it on vacation…sometimes alone, once or twice as part of a library program, and once in front of a wonderful group of residents at a nursing home in Vandalia, Illinois. .

I love it and yes, I always choke at the end. (I’m a little in tears right now just thinking about it.)

Q. How do you choose what to read next?

It’s almost always based on a recommendation from someone. As a city librarian, I get recommendations for great books every day. Although I mostly read non-fiction, I like to try first novels. A recent great read was “Cape May” by Chip Cheek.

Q. Is there a genre or type of book you read the most? and what would you like to read more?

I love architecture books and history titles on various art movements. And I aim to explore graphic novels more. LAPL has a Graphic Novel Reading Challenge happening right now!

Q. Can you remember a book that you read and thought it must have been written just for you?

“Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman really touched me. A beautiful romantic novel in which I felt completely immersed. A year after reading it, I met the author at a book festival and I was completely blown away… and I met a lot of authors.

Q. What are you reading now?

I’m reading “Preserving Los Angeles: How Historic Places Can Transform America’s Cities” by Ken Bernstein. LA is a place of endless discovery and this book shines a light on so many of our city’s must-see places.


Reader Recommendations

“Hello, Transcriber” door Hannah Morrissey

The novel has a police transcriber as a detective. She works for the police but is not a police officer. His knowledge of the crimes involved comes from capturing the reports of everyone from traffic stops to custody interviews. Most of them are about the Candy Man, a drug dealer in a small town with a lot of crime. Hannah works closely with the lead investigator and plays an important role in solving related crimes. She shows bravery and creativity. I loved it for its unique occupation and believable interactions with the other characters.

–Eileen Ferris


Novelist Reyna Grande is the author of “A Ballad of Love and Glory”. (Photo by Imran Chaudhry / Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

In love and war

Reyna Grande talks about the Mexican-American war novel “A Ballad of Love and Glory”. READ MORE

Roddy Doyle’s latest collection of short stories is “Life Without Children”. (Photo by Anthony Woods / Courtesy of Viking)

‘stories of life

Irish writer Roddy Doyle talks about his new collection of pandemic fiction. READ MORE

Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri’s new book is ‘Every Leaf a Hallelujah’, an environmental tale for children and others. (Photo by Mat Bray / Courtesy of other media)

tree life

Ben Okri talks about his new eco-friendly children’s book. READ MORE

“The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley is the best-selling fiction publication in independent bookstores in Southern California. (Courtesy of William Morrow)

The bestsellers of the week

The best-selling books at your local independent bookstores. READ MORE


What’s next on ‘Bookish’

The next free Bookish event will be on April 15 with Steve Almond, Maggie Shipstead and David Baldacci.


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