Our Staff Picks
To celebrate our second annual November fund raising efforts for Literacy Volunteers of Winchester, I asked the Team to share something about a book from any time in their lives that stuck with them. Here are their picks.
“One of my favorite books is Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. It chronicles a band of travelers making a pilgrimage to a distant church and the stories they share with each other to pass the time. I love this book because each pilgrim’s story is told from a different perspective reflecting the teller’s life. Everyone from the knight to the nun is allowed to share their story; some in prose and others verse, some funny and some serious.
No matter your mood as a reader you can find something to love about the Canterbury Tales.”
“My favorite childhood books were the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.
In the world of Redwall animals are the only inhabitants and almost all are capable of speech. The stories are not told in chronological order and I always loved when a character was mentioned from a previous book. It took me a long time to finish one volume because to get context I would re-read the book that had taken place when the character just mentioned was alive.
One of my favorite things about the books were the elaborate descriptions of the banquet feasts that inevitably occurred. How the table was set, what was used for decoration, and especially the food was so fascinating to me. ‘Did it just say that Mrs. Hubbell made a huckleberry pie? For a funeral?! That is not traditional!’ - And other such inner dialogues.
Mostly though I liked the adventures and hero stories of the little animals and their different personalities. I haven’t thought about reading these books for some time, and it makes me happy to remember how much I enjoyed them.”
"Like all the runners up for the position of 'favorite', A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was introduced to me in high school English class. I still am not sure what made me choose this title over the other options on the summer reading list. Perhaps it was half-listening to bits of 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by the same author in the car with my mom. Or the inquisitive-looking grizzly on the cover.
I was enchanted by the history that Bryson injected throughout the storyline. I was encouraged by the humanity of the protagonists. I wanted to also have super cool hiking gear.
I suppose that I read this book at just the right time in my life for it to strike a very significant chord of adventure and self reliance. I haven't laced up my hiking boots or tinkered with my ultra-light jet fuel stove in some time, but the lesson of adapting your expectations while persevering towards your goal was not lost on me."
“The book I can’t shake is Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr. An unassuming find in a used book store, it was like a Russian nesting doll revealing new layers and stories that belied the slender volume.
This novel follows a couple as they leave behind their urban comforts to take up residency in a remote Mexican mining town. Yet the heart of the story that unfolds is made up of the lives of the villagers, each with an account of personal love and loss. Doerr’s storytelling is simple and unadorned and I was not fully aware of how much she had drawn me into the lives of the characters until late in the story, when their tragedies and their courage intermittently caused me to feel sorrow and elation. I was surprised that the journey was so moving. ”