Wednesday, April 8, 2020

By the Book with Mrs. Schwinden, RES librarian

“The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens. And I assure you that you can pick up more information when you are listening than when you are talking.” 
― E.B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan

I will read anywhere!

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?
Reading has always been a huge part of my life and is my favorite thing to do. At times this has made me a bit of an oddball, but it has also made me happy. While other kids were running around playing, I was always very happy with my nose in a book. My earliest memories of reading are with my dad. He was my first teacher and continued in that role throughout my life. When I was very young my dad taught during the day and went to school at night, so time with him was precious. I don't know where he found it, but he always had time to read with me. Once I could read on my own, I drove everyone around me a bit crazy because I had to read everything, including trash on the ground. I liked all kinds of books. Since I was fortunate to have parents who loved me and kept me safe, I naturally gravitated to every book I could get my hands on that featured children in peril. Some favorites during this stage were Up a Road Slowly (Irene Hunt), The Endless Steppe (Esther Hautzig) and A Little Princess (Burnett).

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
I will read anywhere and get panicky if I don’t have something - anything - to read, so I’m not too particular about where it happens. At times this has meant reading Golf Digest or Popular Mechanics while stuck in a waiting room. My ideal reading experience is what I call “swallowing a book” - reading somewhere comfortable, without interruption, for as long as I can. Recently I had a “dream come true” reading experience when I visited the New York Public Library and sat in the exquisite Rose Reading Room. 
New York Public Library

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?
I just finished a book about espionage during World War II. I had no idea being a spy was so exhausting. All those double agents! I discovered I would not be a good spy.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
My goodness - that’s a hard one. I would invite E.B. White because I love his writing and I love his voice! We listened to a tape of him reading Trumpet of the Swan while driving my son to college for the first time and it was very comforting. I would also invite Ann Patchett because I love everything she has written and I would love to find out more about running a book store. My last guest would be my dad. He wasn't a published author but spent many years writing poetry and short stories. He's no longer with us, but his writing remains as a reminder of what a great person and father he was, and how lucky I am to be his daughter.


  1. We are so lucky to have your passion for books shared with both our avid and reluctant readers!

  2. Thank you. Being part of a great school community with such great kids makes me the lucky one.

  3. I agree with Stacey, we are lucky to have such committed specialists in or school always setting by example and showing enthusiasm as they teach I think our library is special!

  4. How exciting to visit the Rose Reading Room! You look right at home!