Book Column

By Mia Saraceni and Ari Case

Mrs. Vottero poses with one of her favorite signs in the library. Photo credit Ari Case.

The GS library holds hundreds of books that span a variety of genres, but it can be nothing short of daunting trying to figure out which one to pick. This column is here to offer some help in the form of recommendations and opinions so that maybe a new favorite is found.

Mrs. Carrie Vottero, the GS librarian, always has a plethora of ideas on what one should read.

When it comes to non-fiction, Mrs. Vottero strongly recommends the memoir Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, the owner of the major clothing company Patagonia. The story is about his view on running a business and while that might seem boring, it’s a refreshing glance into the mind of a giving and unique man.

“He’s giving away his company to save the world, and I think that’s pretty awesome,” Vottero said. “The story is just really cool. He has a whole different kind of mindset on how to run a business.”

If non-fiction isn’t your cup of tea, another one of her favorites is The One-Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin. This story features 17-year-old Lenni and 83-year-old Margot who form a beautiful friendship. These two are terminally ill and decide, after having an art class together, to paint 100 portraits of events from the century they lived.

“It’s a beautiful story about how they build this friendship and how they help each other live,” Vottero said. “It’s just really great.”

Mrs. Vottero’s final recommendation is a book of poetry named And We Rise by Erica Martin. This collection of poems follows the events of the Civil Rights movement and how black communities are still facing some of those same struggles today.

“It’s a really cool book about civil rights issues that are in the world today,” she said.

Mrs. Vottero shows off two of her book recommendations. Photo by Ari Case.

Mrs. Vottero’s GoodReads Page  has even more books, along with her reviews and ratings. While she is able to offer a million different book choices, there are a few she didn’t mention. The Lions’ Den staff has some recommendations for you as well.

You may know American Psycho, the popular novel by Bret Easton Ellis, but have you heard of Ellis’ follow-up novel Less Than Zero? Less Than Zero is about societal impacts and the truth about how it can mold people. This novel features an 18-year-old Clay Easton, who comes home to Los Angeles from college on the east coast. The book explores Clay’s relationships, family life and mindset while being swept up in a culture full of drugs and nihilism.

The Hazel  Wood by Melissa Albert is another thrilling book with an adventure that never stops surprising you. Just when you think you understand, the rug is pulled out from under you and the story is flipped on its head. This novel has just the right amount of spookiness to unsettle you but not enough to cause nightmares. Albert weaves a wonderous story, and it’s definitely something worth checking out.

The final novel recommendation is a phenomenal story of a young boy, called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Author Jonathan Safran Foer paints the picture of a young boy named Oscar and his adventures through New York City to find the sixth borough. This sixth borough adventure is nothing short of a metaphor for Oscar finding himself and coping with a terrible loss. While it may sound simple, this book is incredibly intricate and provides a mass of symbolism, side-stories and even drawings. Everything in this book means something, and if you think something is one-dimensional, you’re wrong. If you’re looking for something to completely engross yourself in, this book is for you.

There are tons of books waiting in the GS library, so don’t forget to stop by and check them out.

And if you’re a reader, consider joining the GS Westmoreland Interscholastic Reading Competition (WIRC) team. The team has casual meets starting in October to discuss what they’re reading off of the curated 2023 WIRC book list. There is one competition day in the spring when each team from each school has several rounds of questions on the books on the list.

“The point of the day is to celebrate the fact that reading is glorious, and that we love to do it,” Vottero said. “And that here’s a roomful of 500 people all who love reading, [and] that’s a cool thing. But it’s fun to win too. [That’s] WIRC and so anybody that’s willing to put some time in just reading some great books can be on the team.”

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