Media Squad Member Sara


more about me

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. And she was perfectly content to stay there and let her imagination do all of the adventuring.

I’m the Branch Manager of our Sharpsburg Branch and all-around nerd. I still check wardrobes for inter-dimensional portals, and I still believe that anything can happen if you let it. If I’m not reading, I am probably communing with the silver screen (watching a film at Row House Cinema). I am the person to talk to for all of your speculative fiction needs, especially fantasy, as well as any queries about animation, cinema, kid-lit, YA, and Gothic fiction.

Other careers I considered were literary translator (because there is more to read than what the Anglosphere produces) and film preservationist (because early cinema is astonishing and too much of it has been lost).

My favorite film is The Seventh Seal; my favorite current TV show is Bojack Horseman; and my favorite books are His Dark Materials and The Lord of the Rings. I love works that ask thought-provoking questions and subtly allude to the issues that confront us. While I can appreciate works that are meant to be entertainment, I gravitate toward more intellectual pieces that can be read (or watched) on multiple levels.

I am known to frequently geek out with patrons about books, movies, and TV. Join me and you will complete your training in the dork side!

So, all the ways I find my next great read: I have different methods for finding my next read which are dependent on the demographic and genre that I’m interested in reading next. If I’m reading juvenile or young adult fiction, I trust the reviews on Kirkus and articles on the Barnes and Noble Teen and Kids blogs. While I do skim reviews on Kirkus for adult material, as a speculative fiction reader, I read every day and sometimes multiple times per day. I also like to read Book Riot and search Listopias on Goodreads for specific niche areas like “French fantastique in translation.” Of course, I also follow awards. For children and teens: the Newbery and Printz (respectively); and for spec fic: the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.

As for literature, I tend to rely on the canon, Modern Library, and Le Monde’s list of the best works of literature. I also will pull titles from academic works on specific genres (i.e. Gothic fiction or proto-fantasy).

In addition to titles that I’ve marked “Want to Read” on Goodreads, I have a separate Google Drive list of fantasy books to read. When I need to replenish my book stack, I write 3 columns on an index card: juvenile/YA, fantasy, and literature. I then rank the next 10 things I want to read in each area and borrow or order items as I feel like reading them.

I’m mostly drawn to reading speculative fiction because I appreciate how thought-provoking questions and issues-of-the-day are subtly integrated into the narrative and also because I still check wardrobes for magic portals. I’m also extremely nostalgic and fail to think of myself as a proper adult, so I feel the emotions in children’s and young adult very deeply, even if I never show it. I’m a translation snob (I will research which translation is best before reading anything with multiple translations), and I care very much for how stories are presented and written and will not waste my time on something with a brilliant premise and terrible execution. My tastes may be considered eclectic, but I think it just means I’m well-rounded.

More non-book-related info about me: the most delicious food in the universe is shepherd’s pie with a side of Wensleydale cheese. I truly am a hobbit. Tacos also have a place in my heart (and stomach).

I feel like libraries are one of the most magical places remaining in our world, presenting countless opportunities for people from all backgrounds to find their next favorite book or movie, explore new hobbies, share interests, and access technology. I love meeting all of the patrons who walk through our doors and cannot imagine doing anything else.

I used to “compete” with the old trivia show Win Ben Stein’s Money when I was growing up. By compete, I mean I would answer all of the questions and frequently “win” while I did my homework. I’m not sure how I would do on Jeopardy!, but I think I would hold my own in the literature, film, history, and geography categories. Just don’t ask me any questions about sports.

My favorite currently-airing shows are Bojack Horseman, My Hero Academia, and Game of Thrones. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, you can be sure it’s animated, a fantasy, or both.

I live in the 5th most walkable neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and my flat is within walking distance of my happy place: Row House Cinema.