September 2012 Issue
Editor's Note: Book People
I recently stopped to talk to one of Ohio Magazine
’s newer staff members, circulation marketing manager Brittany Neish, and saw a copy of The Kite Runner
on her desk. “Ohhh, that is such a good book!” I exclaimed, setting off a discussion on favorite reads and authors.
That kind of thing happens frequently in our office. We are book people here at Ohio Magazine
— many of us find a quiet spot to read at lunchtime, and frequent the Cleveland Public Library and its leafy reading garden several blocks away.
One day over the summer, freelancer and former editorial intern Laura Beans appeared in a Cleveland Plain Dealer
feature photo — on her lunch hour in a local park, totally absorbed in a book (Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold
, she told us later). We certainly have eclectic tastes: Publisher Lute Harmon Jr. is a Hemingway fan, Art Director Lesley Blake is a Jane Austen aficionado and Associate Editor Ilona Westfall loves fantasy (Neil Gaiman, in particular). Senior Editor Linda Feagler serves on the Ohioana Library board and also edits Ohio Magazine
’s book coverage, so among her extensive reading interests are books by our state’s authors, a distinguished group that includes James Thurber, Sherwood Anderson, Louis Bromfield and Zane Grey, as well as more recent novelists Dan Chaon, Brock Clarke, Les Roberts and Thrity Umrigar.
As for me, I’m partial to mysteries — from Nancy Drew in my youth to my current march through the Maisie Dobbs series. (I was introduced to Jacqueline Winspear’s fictional post-World War I sleuth by my book group, which has been meeting for more than 30 years.)
Apparently, we at Ohio Magazine
have a lot of company among our fellow Buckeyes: The National Center for Educational Statistics ranked Ohio No. 1 in the nation last year in library visits per capita. That prompted a humor website to tag us the nation’s “nerdiest” state, a distinction we’ll wear proudly as we check out more than 120 million items annually from our state’s libraries (according to the State Library of Ohio).
From grand marble and limestone buildings to bookmobiles visiting Amish communities, Ohio’s libraries are numerous and accessible. In this issue, Contributing Editor Jill Sell describes her lifelong love of libraries (see My Ohio, page 128), which began at a suburban Cuyahoga County branch decades ago. How many of us, like Jill, treasured our first library card, and recall a no-nonsense librarian like Miss Maroush? And how many of us have also gotten misty-eyed watching our children sign up for their first library card?
I certainly have, and I’m guessing my fellow bookworms across the state have, too.