Lunching and Looking Back at Groundbreaking Reads

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By Shaileen B.

Groundbreaking Reads Luncheon PortraitAn uncontrollable urge: that theme kept coming up in the Poe Room this past Saturday, August 24, when select winners of the Adult Summer Reading draw met to celebrate at a luncheon with Pratt Library CEO Dr Carla Hayden.

It was there when Sharr'on of Clifton Branch noted that she had read 70 books this summer "and that's below my average," when Kristen of Central Library said she'd read "an obnoxious number," when Steve of Light Street Branch described himself as "somewhat obsessed with Laura Lippman and Michael Connelly," and Britonya of Patterson Park Branch remembered how Tess Gerritsen's "Silent Girl really caught me..."

Whitney from Orleans Street Branch confessed to being "in love with Jack Reacher," while Vanessa from Waverly Branch told of how she had "read a book I can't get away from," Naked Love by Darnella Ford.

"I think of it as living in a garden or living in a treasure house," said Dr. Carla Hayden, the Library CEO, who apparently shares her house with quite a few books. "It's not so much an addiction," said Dr. Hayden. "It's a passion."

The lunch guests feasted, made friends, posed for photos with one another and Dr. Hayden, and—most important—shared their lives as readers. Stephanie from Brooklyn Branch talked about listening to Janet Evanovich's novels about another Stephanie: "It's like I'm in the book, walking around with her..." Bethany from Hampden Branch spoke of a novel that broke her heart, Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: "I'm not a really emotional person but I was crying all the way through." Kristen rhapsodized about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, a "beautiful book."

The annual lunch with Dr. Hayden isn't the only adult summer reading prize, but it's the most communal one. Uniting participants from all Pratt Library locations, it celebrates the whole program. There was lots to celebrate this past Saturday: program organizers counted 958 participants. The Central Library had the most, followed by the Light Street Branch, then the Govans Branch.

The 10 books most frequently read, from most to least frequent, are as follows:

The biggest common denominator, however, wasn't a title but a tendency. Obsession? Drive? Addiction? Passion? Call it what you will, it's a force for the good. Please come back for summer reading next year.

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