What to read next? We at MPL try to make this age-old question easier to answer for you with our good reads site. There are several genre lists and award lists, but my favorite part is the Library Staff Picks. These are lists made up by your local librarians with loving care for your reading pleasure. The truth is that we love to read as much as you do and this is where we share our favorites.
With tornadoes locally and hurricanes on our coastlines, the thought of disaster striking close to home can make us think about how we might react in such situations. In Amanda Ripley’s new book The Unthinkable, she interviews survivors of the 9/11 attacks, airplane disasters and natural disasters in order to see if there are common lessons that we can all learn to be able to face a disaster and survive. For some, fate will quickly decide life or death, but for many others, their decisions and actions will decide their survival. The main idea I took away from reading this book is that we all have the potential to be survivors and we can all do more to be better prepared and more aware of the situations that surround us. Ripley’s descriptions of normal human responses in disaster situations are fascinating–delay, part of the denial phase, is a common response, as is waiting for instructions but panic is surprisingly rarely seen. Be prepared is the theme of this book–pay attention to emergency exits and instructions on an airplane, be prepared for smoke and heat in a fire and familarize yourself with building exits, and think ahead about procedures to follow if you are in an emergency situation–don’t rely upon government agencies to be there with assistance. With her insights into the psychology of disaster response along with intense interviews with disaster survivors, Ripley offers a fascinating look at how to increase our chances to survive the unthinkable.
The Uncommon Reader happens to be the Queen herself, Elizabeth II. The Queen has never cared much for reading, and didn’t even know that the local bookvan visited her palace grounds. But one day her Corgis take off on a run and lead the Queen straight to the bookvan’s doors. She collects her dogs, but she feels obligated to visit with the librarian and the sole patron in the bookvan. Appearances dictate that she should borrow a book, just to be polite.