N.C.’s librarian comes from a reading family

Cal Shepard is a lifelong reader, currently serving as the State Librarian of North Carolina.

Recommended read: History of the Rain” by Niall Williams. This is a wonderful story of an Irish girl and her family. The characterizations are detailed and I really felt I knew the family by the end. Favorite quotes: “Hope may or may not be a thing with feathers. But it’s definitely a thing with claws,” and about two maiden aunts: “they are tall and big-boned and look like men playing women’s parts in a play by Oscar Wilde.”

Currently reading:The Nest” by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney. Four adult siblings try to cope with a seriously depleted trust fund that each one was relying on for different reasons.

Who or what taught you to love to read? My mother read to us a lot when we were kids and taught all of her children to love to read. We even have a family book club, selecting a new title before every summer vacation.

What is your favorite book that nobody's heard of? One book I read over and over again when I was young was “The Adventures of Mabel” by Harry Thurston Peck. The main character was able to talk to animals and had all sorts of adventures as a result. I always wanted to live her exciting life!

What is your favorite reading memory? I remember trying to bring a book to the dinner table (more than once) when I was at a critical part of the story and it was time to eat. This was, of course, not allowed!

What movie was better than the book? I usually think books are better than movies, but one movie that surprised me by how well it depicted what I considered to be a cerebral novel was “Remains of the Day.”

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History of the Rain

Niall Williams

Bloomsbury, 368 pages