Hear from our community members, librarians, and life-long readers about the books that shaped them and how reading has impacted their lives.

Shawna Bryce

“To Kill a Mockingbird” By Harper Lee

Hear from MLIS student at UNCG, Shawna Bryce, on the book that shaped them:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: “I am the Technology Instructor for Madison County Public Libraries in Western North Carolina as well as the manager of the Mars Hill branch (MCPL). I spent 18 years teaching English in public high school in NC before I “fell” into this role at the library, which I love. I have an M.Ed. with an emphasis on literacy and will graduate with my MLIS in the spring. Being a librarian allows me to combine my passion for reading, social justice, and literacies of all kinds. I still get to teach as well as research and work with the public in what I believe to be the most democratic institution we have in the US. Talk about a dream job!”

How did this book impact you? “When I first heard this book, it was shared by a teacher who read the section towards the end when Bob Ewell stalked and attacked Jem and Scout one spooky autumn night. The teacher shared it around Halloween, and I was hooked. Not because of the suspense; more because of the words. When I checked the book out from the library, I read it and wept at the injustice I witnessed (because, yes, I was a part of Maycomb, Alabama), and at the call to justice Atticus and Scout stirred in me to take the hands of the Boo Radleys of the world and walk around in their shoes. As an English teacher, this was one of my favorite books to teach, to inspire young adults to speak up and do what they knew was right even in the face of a majority who was wrong.”

Lesley Farmer

“International Standard Atlas of the World” Anthony Kronbauer, Editor

Hear from LIS Professor at California State University Long Beach, Lesley Farmer, on the book that shaped them:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: “I teach school librarianship and educational technology at California State University Long Beach. I have written over 30 books, present frequently, and engage in international librarianship activities.”

How did this book impact you? “I was gifted this atlas when I was ten. Along with many maps, the book has many photos of country landmarks. It inspired me to learn about — and see — the world in its great variety.”

“Go, Dog. Go!

Hear from MLIS student at UNCG, Barbara Prillaman, on the book that shaped them:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: “My first career has been as a statistician, but I’m an avocational musician and a 2nd-year grad student in UNCG’s Library and Information Sciences program. I’ve been an avid reader since childhood, as my #BooksThatShapedMe choice indicates.”

How did this book impact you? “Go, Dog, Go! is a long-time favorite: I’m still fascinated the rhythm of the text, by the vibrancy of the illustrations, and by the whimsical story. As a child, I was certain that somewhere in my hometown of Greensboro, there had to be a huge tree hosting one rockin’ dog party! As an adult, I appreciate how effective a teaching tool one can craft out of the simple elements of this book — and I’m still intrigued by blue dogs in red trees! Eastman’s book sowed the seeds for my love of rhythmic and evocative narrative and for the partnership between word and image.”

Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte

Hear from librarian, journal editor, and educator, Liza Palmer, on the book that shaped them:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: “I am a librarian at Brunswick Community College, an instructor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and an editor of three journals: The Moving Image, Film Matters, and Film International.”

How did this book impact you? “I was thirteen, my mother had gone back to work, so it was the first summer I was going to be home alone. To keep me occupied, my mother went to a bookstore and got a stack of classic novels (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, etc.). Reading Wuthering Heights was like a fever dream — I was immediately hooked and stayed up all night (no one policed my bedtime anymore — freedom!) to work my way through it as quickly as possible. The structure of the novel certainly challenged me. And it was probably the first book that made me sob out loud; Heathcliff beating his forehead on the tree just wrecked me. I don’t recall any book since having the same impact. I wanted what Heathcliff and Cathy had (for all their dysfunction!). Today, I love that such complexity and passion was written by a woman, a “spinster” — we need to celebrate our female authors more. My husband and I recently treated ourselves to the Folio Society edition — we reserve this honor (and expense!) for only the most special of books. Truth be told, I’m actually scared to reread it for fear that the book couldn’t possibly live up to that summer when I was thirteen and felt free for the first time.”

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