Wednesday 28 February 2018

I'm quite the fan of reading, but never really talk about books much on my blog because I usually find I review a book in a couple of lines so it wouldn't make for a very good blog post. However, seeing as it's World Book Day this Thursday, I thought I'd sit down for a cup of tea with an expert in the world of books. Kimberley Pecino has worked at the John Mac Library/Cultural Services for 6 years, so you could say she can provide quite the insight when it comes to talking books. Happy reading!

world book day

Hi Kim! Thank you for speaking with me, when people think about working in a library they usually think 'old lady with glasses' you definitely don't fit the stereotype! How did your studies lead you into this career?

Thank you for interviewing me! I agree quite a few people have been surprised to find out that I am the John Mackintosh Hall librarian in my 6 years here so far - I do have the glasses mind you! I read English Literature and History at the university of Southampton from 2008-2011. I always knew I wanted to study English from as young as middle school. It sounds cliched from a librarian but my first word indeed was book, and by the age of 3 I could recount stories word by word as I'd memorised them!

When I graduated, I returned to Gibraltar looking for work within the local cultural sphere. The govermentt graduate training scheme placed me in the JMH, and as they say the rest is history! I completed an MA in museum and art gallery studies through the university of Leicester distance learning programme in 2014, and a pgdip in library information science in 2017 through Robert Gordon University. 

What a variety! You could definitely say you know a thing or two about books and the arts then. What's a typical day like for you at work now? 

Every day is different as I constantly have lots of projects running simultaneously with the library and the artworks side but my favourite days are when our new books order comes in; opening up all the boxes, checking the invoices, then processing the books (labelling, cataloguing, covering) - I don't get to do much of this these days as the library staff take care of that, but it's still so much fun to handle all these brand new books and wonder to myself who will read them and what their journey will be!

Do you remember the first book you read that made you fall in love with reading? 

I've always loved poetry, and the first book that I remember cherishing was a book on 100 classic poems that my mum gave me for my 8th birthday. I still have it! They are adult poems, and I remember memorising La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, which is still one of my favourite poems to this day. 

I might have to give that a read myself then! For me I think it had to be The Secret Garden, although I also remember someone stealing it from my school desk before I was done with it and having to buy another one! What book do you think was massively overrated and you weren't really a fan of? 

I thought The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was hugely overrated. I thought the characters were superficial, there were huge plot holes and the writing style was quite repetitive. It was hyped to be the new Gone Girl, and I couldn't disagree more. Gillian Flynn is a phenomenal writer, and Paula Hawkins just doesn't match up in my opinion. (NB If you liked gone girl, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn is even better I read it in pretty much one sitting and could NOT put it down)

Yes I agree completely! Nobody in that book was likeable. I've actually read all of Gillian Flynn's books myself, I quite enjoyed the film adaptations of both Gone Girl and Dark Places too. Being quite the movie buff myself, what film do you think was just as good as the book?

I thought The Princess Bride by William Goldman was quite true to the book and in fact even better in some aspects. The comedic elements were brought to life in a hugely satisfying and entertaining way, the romance was just on the outskirts of the main plot which is just like the book, and the Fire Swamp, the Machine, and Prince Humperdinck we're just as I imagined they would be.

I'm ashamed to say I have never got round to seeing/reading that! Might need to be what I rent out next. With the John Mac library, what age group do you mostly get loaning out books? Do you think young people are becoming more interested in reading? 

I think it would be a fair statement to say that the majority of members borrowing books are adults over 35 - however we have seen a huge rise in children and young adults borrowing books which is fantastic and really bodes well for the future of reading in Gibraltar. 

I think it's all about finding the right book, especially in class. Thinking back to when I was in school I remember Lord of The Flies being a good read and I looked forward to the classes - if you had to choose a book that would be a great discussion in the classroom today which would it be? 

I love Lord of the flies too! I think contemporary literature needs to be discussed more in schools. A particularly relevant one which I read recently is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I won't spoil it for you, but it centres a racially motivated shooting of a young black man by a white police officer, and the aftermath of this action. This young adult novel won tons of awards in 2017 and with very good reason.

I have heard a lot about it myself! It's on my reading list on GoodReads at the moment. Sticking to the topic of words, what's your favourite or most memorable book quote?

This is technically cheating as this quote is from a play, but I've always loved 'we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the star's'. It's from Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde - I love how it says that we all come from the same place but some of us have bigger dreams and the ambition to make them come true. Oscar Wilde is also the person I choose when asked who would you like to have dinner with, dead or alive!

I do see a lot of his quotes floating around on Pinterest and Instagram I must say! Very inspiring. Finally I have to ask, what are you currently reading now? 

I've just started The Power by Naomi Alderman and I am enjoying it immensely so far. It's powerful but with tongue in cheek humour just under the surface - I'm excited!

Another one I'll have to add to my list! I've just finished 'The Couple Next Door' and picking up 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' to move away from all the thrillers I seem to read. Thank you again for speaking to me and sharing your thoughts and favourites! 

kim pecino

Do you guys remember the first book that made you fall in love with reading or that has particularly stood out for you? I'd love to know in the comments! 


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