Kate Barr is a youth services librarian at Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh. She loves hanging out with her 9-year-old mutt, Mikey, and spending time in the kitchen.
Recommended read: “An Appetite for Violets” by Martine Bailey. A haunting, atmospheric blend of historical fiction, mystery, and domestic fiction, this tale of food and duplicity set in 1773 England and Italy kept me on the edge of my seat. A great pick for those who liked Jo Baker's “Longbourn.”
Currently reading: “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler. I tend to love restaurant fiction, but the narrative of this one is a little disjointed and hard to follow. I'm waiting for the characters to really develop and for the story to begin in earnest.
What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? For children, “A Candle in Her Room” by Ruth M. Arthur, a creepy tale about a haunted doll spanning three generations of girls living on the Welsh coast. You can taste the salt in the air, Arthur’s descriptions are that good. For adults, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” by Muriel Spark, one of my favorite character studies in 20th century literature. She is an unforgettable figure both to the reader and to the students she craftily manipulates in the story.
What favorite book from childhood have you kept? My childhood copy of “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi. I’ve owned it since the mid ’90s and was so excited when I had the opportunity for Avi to sign it a few years ago. He told me that he loves to see well-loved copies of his books, which this one definitely is.
What movie was better than the book? “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger. I find the book to be a lackluster, lazily written way to sell Anna Wintour up the river, but the movie is hilarious and every change that was made improved upon the original story.
An Appetite for Violets
Thomas Dunne Books, 400 pages