Skip to main content

As You Like It

Literary news, book reviews
and more…   rss-icon 

Allen County Reads: Laurie Proctor

by Evan | Apr 26, 2017
Allen County Reads Laurie ProctorIn this month’s Allen County Reads, Laurie Proctor, minister emerita at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, shares her love of reading. 

"My parents were rather voracious readers and I’m sure their habits influenced me for the good.  I can’t imagine life without reading books."

When I was three, my mother, father, and I moved to a new post-war development in what was then the little town of Belmont, California, south of San Francisco, the city of my birth.  As soon as we moved, we began making trips downtown to the library which was located in city hall.  We went to the library every week and checked out the limit which I think was seven books.  When I was old enough (I think I had to be able to write my name), I got my own card.  The librarian, who lived around the corner, said she loved my parents because they kept the circulation count up.  The library later moved into a much larger facility closer to where we lived, and I went with my parents or rode my bike by myself. 

I had a two-book set of fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.  I looked forward to waking up very early on weekend mornings, before anyone else was awake and sometimes before the sun was up.  It was a treat to read these tales in bed in the quiet part of the day.  Later I read Nancy Drew mysteries, but other than those, I did not have a favorite genre such as horse books, which were common among my girlfriends.  Our fourth grade teacher read Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series to us.  They were such fun and I probably read some of those and others like them.

I was a good reader, near or at the top of my class which is ironic given that I scored very poorly on a reading readiness test that I took before kindergarten.  My parents did not censor my reading so I moved onto “adult” books at a relatively young age.  I read Peyton Place when I was thirteen (not that I really knew what was happening) and Psycho when I was a sophomore.  I think I took my reading cues from my mother, although I never acquired her love of sci-fi.

My love of mysteries has grown over the years.  For a time in my 30s and 40s I sought out women authors writing about women detectives such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, and Nevada Barr.  Later in life, I have been attracted to detectives’ stories with male protagonists who are reflective, wondering about the meaning of life.  My favorite authors include Henning Mankell, P. D. James, Michael Connelly, Louise Penny, and Ian Rankin.  I’m a fan of British and Scandinavian mysteries as well as those by Carl Hiaasen, whose characters could not be described as reflective, but they are enjoyable.

Mysteries provide a counterpoint to the non-fiction writing into which I plunge, tackling various subject areas.  Politics and social criticism are favorite topics.  When I was studying for a Master’s Degree in Earth Literacy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, my reading was heavy with science and environmental books.  Then it was gardening, especially sustainable efforts, and always cookbooks, although I admit to reading at them, not cover to cover, as the mood strikes me.  I almost forgot my obsession with self-help books of all kinds: decluttering, diet and health, time management.  And then there is Zen Buddhism.  

I am now in two book groups.  I joined both primarily because I enjoy the people, but also to challenge myself to read more fiction.  Given the times in which we live, I try fiction from other cultures as a way of understanding people.

 

3 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Becky K | Feb 12, 2018
    I almost forgot!  We also have an online book group which connects through Goodreads.  To join, you'll first want to establish an account on Goodreads.  To find our group, look for the Groups option at the top of the page and click it.  Type ACPL in the search box, choose ACPL Online Book Club, and click Join Group.  It's as easy as that!
  2. Becky K | Feb 12, 2018

    Welcome to Allen County, Constance!  We offer several book groups. 

    *The Monday Night Book Club meets at our Grabill branch on the first Monday of the month from 7:00 - 8:00 pm.  March's selection is The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman.  Please call (260) 421-1325 for more information.

    *The Monday Morning Book Group meets at our Little Turtle branch on the second Monday of the month from 10:30 - 11:30 am.  Everyone shares the books they are currently reading.  Please call (260) 421-1335 for more information.

    *The Unbound Book Club meets at our Waynedale branch on the second Tuesday of the month from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.  They discuss a variety of fiction.  Please call (260) 421-1365 for the current month's selection.

    *Novel Ideas Book Club meets at our Hessen Cassel branch on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.  This February they are discussing The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney.  Please call (260) 421-1330 for more information.

    *Well-Read Women meets at our Georgetown branch on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.  This February they are discussing The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  Please call (260) 421-1320 for more information.

    *Brunch & Lit meets at the Cedars Retirement Community in Leo on the second Wednesday of the month from 10:00 - 11:00 am.  This February they are discussing When the Game Stands Tall by Neil Hayes.  Please call (260) 421-1325 for more information.

    *Cookbook Club meets at our Aboite branch on the second Wednesday of the month from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.  They choose either a theme or cookbook series for the month and prepare a recipe to share.  This February's theme is Mardi Gras.  Please call (260) 421-1310 for more information.

    *Chapter Two Book Club meets at our Main Library on the third Thursday of the month from 10:00 - 11:00 am.  They discuss a variety of fiction and nonfiction.  This February's title is Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande.  Please call (260) 421-1235 for more information.

    *Well-Read Women, Nonfiction Edition meets on the third Thursday of the month from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.  This February they are meeting at the Three Rivers Co-op.  Please call (260) 421-1320 for more information.

    *Science and Technology Book Club meets at the Main Library on the third Thursday of the month from 7:00 - 8:00 pm.  This February they are discussing The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben.  Please call (260) 421-1215 for more information.

    *Lunch Bunch Book Club meets at our Woodburn branch on the fourth Monday of the month from 11:00 - noon.  This February they are discussing Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble.  Please call (260) 421-1370 for more information.

    *Talk It Up Book Club meets at our Pontiac branch on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 5:00 - 6:00 pm.  Everyone shares the books they are currently reading.  Please call (260) 421-1350 for more information.

    *Dupont Classics meets at our Dupont branch on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.  This February they are discussing The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  Please call (260) 421-1315 for more information.

    *The Stephen King Book Club meets at our Georgetown branch on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 7:00 - 8:00 pm.  This February they are discussing Firestarter.  Please call (260) 421-1320 for more information.

    *The Aboite Book Club meets at our Aboite branch on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.  This February they are discussing The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.  Please call (260) 421-1310 for more information.

    We will continue the Allen County Reads feature.  Stay tuned and thanks for commenting!

  3. Constance Mettler | Feb 11, 2018

    I am new to town and looking for a book group. Laurie says she is in two. I wonder what they are?

    Also, will there be a 2018 Allen County Reads book?

    Leave a comment