New Book by Joyce Carol Oates

Some authors seem to write the same story again and again. Some have characters where their names are changed but the personalities are the same as the last book. Then there is Joyce Carol Oates. Every book I read of hers seems different.

I just finished reading Jack of Spades and really enjoyed it, but unlike many of her other psychological books, it is quite dark. I’m sure not everyone would like it, but I thought it was an interesting and refreshing read.

If I learned nothing else in twenty years of being a public librarian, I learned that there are as many different tastes in books as there are people. There were some books I loved so much I wanted to leap over the desk and shake a patron when they expressed no enthusiasm for them. And then there were patrons who were very excited about books I couldn’t stand. But that kind of diversity was what kept library work interesting.

I managed a library in Midvale, Utah, which was a conservative community when it came to graphic sex or violence. We didn’t censor the books in the library, and would remove one only after a formal request had been made, and the book went through a thorough review. Actually, very few books were ever removed but we were quick to suggest alternative books which the patrons might find more appropriate.

One day my assistant librarian (a young man) was approached by an agitated middle-aged woman waving a paperback book. She asked if he had read it. He said he hadn’t and she launched into a summary of the plot, and then concluded, “I would say it was almost pornographic.”

He took a breath to suggest other alternatives for her to read, but she finished with, “Do you have any more of them?” He let out his breath. He hadn’t seen that one coming.

I recently read The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison and enjoyed it, in spite of a few typos. So I recommended it to my sister. True to form, she hated it. As my mother  used to say, “There’s no accounting for tastes.

I’ve added a family story, Wyoming Winter, to my list of published short stories (click on the right side of the screen). Hope you enjoy it, but then again, “There’s no . . .

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About Lorraine Jeffery

Lorraine Jeffery earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her MLIS in library science, and managed public libraries in Texas, Ohio and Utah for over twenty years. She has won poetry prizes in state and national contests and has published over thirty poems in various publications, including Clockhouse, Kindred, Calliope, Ibbetson Street,and Rockhurst Review. She has published short stories in War Cry, The Standard and Segullah. Her articles have appeared in Focus on the Family, Mature Years, and Utah’s Senior Review, as well as other publications.. She is the mother of ten children (eight adopted) and currently lives with her husband in Orem, Utah.

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