Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Power of Linda Knorr

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?


Laura A. said...

Linda rules!

She clued me in to The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, a charming novel about how the Queen of England's life is transformed by books when she stumbles into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace. Very funny and a quick and enjoyable read.

LaScorpia said...

So much praise for the Spirit of Linda Past. How about some praise for the Spirit of Linda Present? (Didn't any of you read The Power of NOW?) Run don't walk to her display on the 3rd floor featuring mysteries set in different locations. This week the location is Africa and she has books, cds and movies a-plenty.

Jeanne said...

Linda has recommended so many good books to me over the years. While everyone seems to know that she's a whiz when it comes to mysteries, not everyone knows that Linda also has an interest in Japanese culture. Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb and Out by Natsuo Kirino are just a few of the wonderful novels that she has recommended to me.

Cheryl said...

Linda is fantastic. In a minute of asking her about a book, she recommended another book she knew I would like. Linda is a miracle worker!

Karen said...

And somehow she always finds time to attend Library and community events and provides great photos for our Web site. I don't know how she does it all, I'm just glad she does.

Linda K. said...

Roberta - many thanks for the praise and the blog entry. Our Readers' Services team is full of unique talents and special interests that make us the best of the best! Laura's specialties include classical music and literary fiction, Cathy is not only a terrific resource for literary fiction but the nicest person I've ever met, Joel has a special knowledge of movies and sports, David is terrific with graphics and homebound deliveries, Jo has a great sense of humor and a wide knowledge of books, music and movies from her past careers and Cheryl got me started reading high school and young adult fiction. And of course, many of my advisory skills come from Roberta who has taught Readers' Advisory to future and present librarians. My favorite part of the job is comparing notes on books and movies with my co-workers. My sister Leanne said it best after reading the blog " how wonderful to have a job you love and to be good at it." (Oh, my husband told me to add - I also get inspiration from him and my cat, Maggie.)

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