Saved by the Bell

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Recently, I helped my cousin organize her new third-grade classroom . She presented me with boxes of books that I was to organize into fiction, nonfiction and miscellaneous subcategories for her classroom library.

Sifting through well-worn covers of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and Charlotte’s Web, I felt myself slowly rediscovering my third-grade self. Growing up anticipating each “new” Blume or Cleary work at the local bookstore or school library, I was what you could call a fiction girl.

As I sorted the Clancy School for the Arts nonfiction category, I confirmed that that elementary-school sensibility remained. I simply didn’t experience that same warm-and-fuzzy feeling when faced with texts chronicling topics such as whales, amazing discoveries from World War II and the 10 greatest baseball stories of all time.

Sorting fiction versus nonfiction got me thinking. Today, when I read via my iPhone’s Kindle app (of which I am a huge fan!), I routinely fly through pages of no fewer than two fiction books at a time. To maintain some semblance of responsibility, however, I always manage to keep a nonfiction book on reserve that I can thumb through — sometimes trudge through. Usually, they chronicle work-related topics.

But just as when I was in third grade, I experience little anticipation and excitement when cracking a new work of nonfiction. Sure, I’m doing my part to remain a lifelong learner, but where’s the fun in that? We all need a page-turner about life — one laced with humor and populated by vivid characters.

That’s why my Kindle library has two categories.

You will note my nonfiction selections are work-oriented, so I have presented them in full (despite the fact that I have not read all of them in full). As well, for a little fun, here is a little sampling of my library-on-the-go.

My Kindle Library:

When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

I Was Told There’d Be Cake – Sloane Crosley

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving


Kingfish – Richard White

Gusher of Lies – Robert Bryce

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations – Brian Solis

Groundswell – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff