The Librarian Who Reads Everything
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He is known as The Librarian Who Reads Everything on Tumblr and Twitter, but before cultivating an online following of more than 10,000 readers, Technology Services and Outreach Librarian Jared Della Rocca was known as the librarian who reads everywhere— he could be seen, nose to spine, head down crossing streets, online, in the gym, at his desk, uphill both ways. In 2013, he upped the ante and decided to read and review every single book first-year students recommended in their applications to Bennington. Last year that was 141 books, this year 189. Speed-read along by visiting or following librarianreadseverything.tumblr.com
GAME OF THRONES- BOOK 3 OF 189
How do you properly review a series that so far spans five books (with two more to come) and over 4,000 pages (probably another 1,800 to go)? You don’t. The books are in-depth character explosions, the Tudors set in print and multiplied by four or five ruling families. Think of the dragons as the advent of gunpowder and Martin’s works easily translate into historical fiction. If you need something to do in between seasons of Game of Thrones, pick up the novels and then when the show returns, you can tell everyone, “Well THAT wasn’t in the book,” and “I mean, you can’t really understand the relationship between The Hound and Arya until you’ve read the book” and other things that will guarantee you will be watching (and reading) alone.
I, ROBOT- BOOK 40 OF 189
The genre of science fiction begins and ends with one name: Isaac Asimov. (Okay, maybe it doesn’t end with his name, since there are a ton of other great authors, but he certainly stands above all as king.) I’m not embarrassed to say I spent most of my teenage years tucked away in the pages of Asimov’s Robot and Foundation books. Actually, looking back at it, I probably should be a little more embarrassed to say that. In any case, Asimov was decades ahead of his time, positing the future of robotics and related fields. I, Robot is an absolute classic of the genre, and the first novel anyone interested in science fiction should start reading.
JANE EYRE- BOOK 47 OF 189
Dear Ms. Fabricatore (my junior year English teacher),
I have completed reading Jane Eyre and am ready to discuss the various characteristics portrayed by Jane in respect to her relationships with Mr. Rochester and St. John. Though I am 19 years late, can you please remove the INCOMPLETE from my assignment?
P.S. I’m sorry I didn’t read it sooner, but c’mon—look at the cover! It doesn’t exactly scream “EXCITING READ!” And the first 100 pages does it no favors either. But the book picks up significantly towards the end of Jane’s relationship with Mr. Rochester, and her dialogue with St. John is phenomenal. I was enraptured over the last 100 pages to see if Bronte would extricate Jane and return her to Rochester. The back-and-forth with St. John over his trip to India was masterful writing, and I was truly surprised how captured I was…at least as much as Jane! Much of the early part of the book is what you’d expect from that era, but if you can get to the halfway mark, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS- BOOK 49 OF 141
I’m going to keep my review short and sweet (take a HINT, Jung!)—ya know when someone at work starts a conversation with, “Let me tell you about a dream I had…” Jung took that prompt and wrote 359 pages. The man is an absolute master of his field, no doubt about it. Unfortunately that field is not storytelling.
PLEASE DON’T KILL THE FRESHMAN- BOOK 57 OF 141
I think I’ve officially arrived at the “I’m too old for…” party. Yeah, I don’t understand most rap music, I forget the difference between Twilight and Teen Wolf (which one had Team Jacob?), and The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent—it all sounds like crap to me. Boy bands today (One Direction, ummm that’s the only one I can think of) are basically the sons of boy bands of my generation (Backstreet Boys, again can’t think of any others). And this book unfortunately falls into my “I’m too old for…” category. Some of it most definitely rings true, as I’m not too old to completely have forgotten what high school was like. But much of the book just doesn’t strike me because I have mostly forgotten the emotion of high school. Yes, I can remember being shunned (not really, I wasn’t even noticeable enough to be shunned) but the actual feeling of being shunned? Not so much. So now, I’m going to put some medicine on my foot wart, grab me a bowl of bran flakes, and slide my way into old-person-ville.
THE PLUCKER BY BROHM- BOOK 58 OF 141
Toy Story, directed by Tim Burton. If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, then you will love this book.
GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH- BOOK 88 OF 141
An interesting, well-written book that clearly defines the evidence for evolution. “Why is evolution called a theory?” Answered. “Where are the missing links?” Answered. “Why are monkeys still around if we descended from them?” FRIGGIN’ ANSWERED! Every stupid thing you’ve heard from your creationist uncle is clearly and concisely answered in this book, and brought to a level that doesn’t require a degree in biology to understand it. I’m going to have to go back and take notes next time so I always have a quick response to the stupidity of YEC-ers on my Facebook wall.
UNBROKEN- BOOK 109 OF 141
I’d like to begin by dedicating my review to my parents, siblings, and the 9 bazillion other people who have started conversations with, “Oh you like to read? Have you read Unbroken?” and then proceeded to tell me about it for the next hour. I can now stop them and say, “Yeah, I’ve read it, let’s move on.”
WALDEN- BOOK 120 OF 141
Keep Calm and Live Simple. *BOOM* I just rewrote Walden in five words. I think Thoreau has a great message to impart, and my wife absolutely loves this book as well as its message, but I just never got past feeling like Thoreau was kind of a jerk. The entire book just comes across preachy to me, right down to how much he spent on this seed, that tool, he exchanged work for this food, yadda yadda yadda. It just read like, “Look at me and how much solitude I’m enjoying and how good I am at it, and you should all do it just like me. And I’m so frugal about it and if you’re not doing it like me, you’re doing it wrong.”
THE POETRY OF ROBERT FROST- BOOK 60 OF 141
I preface this by saying—I’m not that into poetry. So Frost takes a knock purely because of his chosen style. BUT as far as poetry goes, Frost is pretty damn good at what he does. You don’t need a shovel to dig into the meaning of the poems (I’m looking at you, Rimbaud), but he also doesn’t just leave it at the surface, so you sometimes have to bring some mental power to it. The poems are easy-to-read and pleasant, and Frost just seems like someone who keeps it real. Oh, and I drive past his old house on my way to work every day.
SIDDHARTHA- BOOK 67 OF 189
A beautifully written philosophical book, reading it is like participating in an intense meditation/therapy session. As you follow Siddhartha’s journey, you can feel the peace that he finds washing over you. The entire book can be encapsulated in one sound, “Om.”