Reader Profile – Mr. Book (Jason Vigorito)


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Jason Vigorito is a graduate of Penn State University. He is a former bookseller and freelance ghostwriter for clients from Boston to Washington D.C. He is currently a librarian in eastern Pennsylvania, freelance editor, and online manager for a tourist company in Jackson, Wyoming. He’s also helped organize and run eight book clubs, primarily in new York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. You can find Jason online as Mr. Book on Facebook and Litsy.

 

What are you reading now?

Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores,” edited by Otto Penzler. I’m also working through G. K. Chesterton’s “The Complete Father Brown Stories.” And I’m listening on audio to Walter Isaacson’s latest, “Leonardo da Vinci.”

Are you a fiction or non-fiction reader?

I’m both equally. Regarding non-fiction, I have a passion to learn about the world around me in the present and the past, and I love to read the thoughts passed along by great people. Regarding fiction, I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in the made-up worlds and fantasies of imaginative minds; they reflect reality in poignant ways that non-fiction has difficulty producing.

Share a favorite quote from a book you’ve read. Why is it meaningful to you?

I have two, both from Winnie-the-Pooh. (Sometimes something comes along that lodges in your heart and takes up permanent residence in your brain.)

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

To the former, I have said goodbye to a great many people, and every time I have, I’ve realized how lucky I am to have had our paths cross. To the latter, I’m constantly told I care too much–which seems to fall in line with my philosophy of giving everyone love.

What book would you love to see made into a movie? Who would play the lead role?

The Holy Man,” by Susan Trott. What a unique and mesmerizing movie that would be! The lead role would be played by me in 30 or 35 years, lol–short, unassuming, soft-spoken, and around retirement age.

What book are you recommending that everyone read right now?

With so many forces trying to bring everyone down a notch over the past few years, I think a positive, reflective, encouraging book is in order. I recommend two: “The Magic of Thinking Big,” by Dr. David J. Schwartz; and, for the more creative types, “Art and Fear,” by David Bayles. They will remind you of your intrinsic greatness.

Is there I book you feel is highly overrated?

This one gets tomatoes thrown at me. It’s “American Gods,” by Neil Gaiman: the story, not too bad, but sulky and almost too slapdash; the prose, dull and rudimentary. Granted, this book has been my first foray into Gaiman’s body of work and there is much more to discover, but I’ve been told repeatedly that his stories are magical and prose mesmerizing. Hopefully, AG is an anomaly.

What book changed your life, or changed how you view the world? In what way?

Two years ago, I finished Susan Wise Bauer’s “The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome“. No book has paradigm-shifted how I look at history, current events, and psychology, more than that book. Perhaps it is the macro-outline format, or maybe even that she isn’t a professional historian, but, man, that book brought me to some staggering realizations about civilization and humanity! She’s since written two more volumes up through the Renaissance, and each has solidified what I learned from the first.

Are there any other books that marked milestones in your life?

When I finished “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Moby-Dick” before I entered high school. From then on, I turned much of my attention to my library’s adult books section. I knew if I could tackle those books and be triumphant, I thought I could handle anything the adults threw at me.

What book challenged you the most when you read it?

Probably the Riverside Shakespeare. It’s Shakespeare.

Does reading influence your decision-making process?

Absolutely. I’m regularly reminded of a book or two in which a similar situation occurred as a situation unfolds before me. Whether it’s self-help books or philosophy or even a thriller. Remember, always ask yourself: What would Reacher do?

Are you a finisher or do you stop reading a book?

I’m obstinate, I intend to finish what I start. I have bailed on books, but less than a handful. Even if I don’t like where a book is going, I learn what I don’t connect with.

Why do you read?

I love imagination, I hold wide wonder about the world, and I can’t stop learning. My brain runs on a V8 engine that doesn’t slow down. Reading is the best fuel for it.