Don't worry, she uses her powers for GOOD. Linda works in Reader's Services - I bet you've talked to her. I recently came to her with a whiny request: "I want an author I haven't read, not too fluffy, with an interesting setting"? She pulled three different books, gave me a minute or two on each title, and sent me off.
I now have a new favorite literary sentence. Bear with me: it's long.
"Ten crates unloading, nine boxes opened, eight phones ringing, seven staff complaining, six desks in various states of assembly, five damaged chairs, four cases pending, three workmen hammering, two computers crashing and a cat locked in a filing cabinet with no key."
Aren't you curious about the book that sentence comes from? It's The Water Room by Christopher Fowler. Back in December I promised you that we would all find an author we adored in 2009, and Christopher Fowler is my discovery. Or rather, thanks to Linda's suggestion, I'm working my way through the Bryant and May mysteries one by one. Usually I start anywhere in the series, but this time I put Ten-Second Staircase down after 30 pages, knowing that I had to start this sequence from the very beginning (Full Dark House). Do you see what the Readers' Services staff can do for someone who asks "impossible" questions?
This is not the first time that Linda has helped me discover an author: Christopher Buckley and C. J. Box and Jasper Fforde all leap to mind. And it's not necessarily that I love what she loves, or I'd be up to my elbows in cozy mysteries. No, it's that she listens to our hapless requests and then distills her suggestions into a few come hither phrases. That's the essence of Readers' Advisory.
And that's why I see patrons carrying around one of Linda's Foreword columns (she's so wrapped up in a scarf you may not recognize her), or her lists of Holiday Mysteries (available at the Readers' Services Desk), or chatting to her about Midsomer Murders and what they might watch next. They trust her. I'm sure she isn't always right: I never did open The Last Pope. But then, I've been too busy reading dialogue like, "You've been present at three violent deaths in a week. Have you thought of going in for one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?"
Linda opened the door, if you will, for me to have that experience. "Thanks" doesn't seem quite enough. What has she recommended to you?