Reader Profiles

Reader Profile – Claire Talbot

Claire Talbot is a librarian at the Greece Public Library and oversees Adult and Teen programming. She organizes “Greece Reads” – an annual book and author visit, Glimpses of Greece photography contest, and hosts the library podcast “Book Break.” She leads two adult book discussion groups: “As the Page Turns” group and a historical fiction group on Facebook. Claire also purchases the bulk of the adult non-fiction collection for the library, and especially loves cookbooks. When Claire is not reading, she loves photographing birds, watching British mystery shows, and visiting her three children.

What character or author would be the librarian in your personal literary paradise?

I am a big Ann Patchett fan! I admire her writing, but also appreciate that she is a bookstore owner – Parnassus Books in Nashville TN. Parnassus does an Instagram video each Tuesday called “The Lowdown Diaries” which I watch faithfully.

How do you treat the books you read? Do you make notes in them? Dog-ear the pages? Keep every page (and the spine!) pristine?

I treat my books nicely and try to keep the cover and pages intact. I buy many books, and donate a lot of books. Some I raffle off in my book club. I would love to make a Christmas tree made of books – maybe 2023 will be the year I accomplish this!

Do you ever judge a book by its cover? What attracts you to a cover?

Oh yes! I have heard the siren song of a gorgeous cover! I am drawn to richly illustrated covers. Some of my Book of the Month Club choices are Peach Blossom Spring, River Sing Me Home, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Spells for Forgetting. I choose them by reading the synopsis, but I have to say a pretty cover turns my head and grabs my attention!

What was the first book you read by yourself as a child?

I was lucky – my mother was a teacher and started me reading early. One of her gifts to me was The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary – it was illustrated by P. D. Eastman – I loved his illustrations, and his books Go Do Go and Sam and the Firefly were two of my favorites that I read frequently as a child.

Is there a book you have read that you wish you did not?

Being an avid reader, I have finished quite a few that I thought “Wow – I wish I could get that time back!.” One I can remember is The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I also was not a fan of the Twilight series, but I felt compelled to read them since I was a teen librarian at that time.

What is the funniest book you have ever read?

Believe it or not, I would laugh aloud at many of the stories featured in All Creatures Great and Small the veterinarian series by James Herriot. I read the entire series and just loved those books. Heads up: there are some tear jerkers in those books, too!

Do you have a favorite picture book? What and why?

I loved the Edith and Mr. Bear books. They are sometimes called The Lonely Doll series and were written by photographer Dale Wright. I still love reading picture books and loved the story of the owl in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. One of the funniest picture books I read was How are you Peeling: Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann that features photographs of vegetables that are so expressive!

What was the last book you read that challenged your world view?

Babel by R. F. Kuang – although I did not “love” this book it did make me really think about colonization and the power of language. I also read Lightning Strike by Willaim Kent Kruger for one of my book clubs and it really made me think about how we as a country have treated Native Americans, and the position in which we place children of mixed race.

Have you ever read a book by your favorite author that you did not enjoy?

Yes, I really love Pat Conroy but did not enjoy South of Broad. I also love Ann Patchett but did not love State of Wonder.

What is a favorite quote from a book?

I do love quotes, and when I read I keep a notebook close by that I can record passages of the book that touch me. It is difficult for me to name a “favorite” but I can share some that I have recorded recently. From the poem A Summer Day by Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” I also was struck by passage in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin where Bong Cha (Sam’s grandmother) said, “There are no ghosts, but up here (gestures to head) it’s a haunted house.”

Where do you get your book recommendations?

I read library journals, Book Page, belong to Book of the Month Club, get recommendations from friends, and I listen to podcasts. Although I have a huge “To Be Read” pile I am always looking for new suggestions and I am easily distracted by new releases! Some of the podcasts I listen to are The Currently Reading Podcast, Literally Reading, and Book Talk, ETC. I also follow the Bibliolifestyle on Instagram – she creates beautiful reading guides each season which include book recommendations by genre, and fun things like cocktail recipes. I also am an avid “Goodreads” user and love their lists! 

1 thought on “Reader Profile – Claire Talbot”

Comments are closed.