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Cover to Cover: The reading life of Sarah Bennett
This month's column subject is Sarah Bennett, a speech therapist who has worked at Monroe Middle School for eight years. Sarah grew up in the Eau Claire area and moved with her family to Monroe when she was in seventh grade. After graduating from college, she started her career working in Brodhead before moving back to Monroe with her husband, Alan, in 1998.

We had a lovely discussion with Sarah recently about the role books and reading plays in her life.

What are you reading now?

I'm actually reading two things right now. I have one book on my Kindle called "In the Unlikely Event" by Judy Blume. I'm also reading "Consoling the Heart of Jesus" by Michael Gaitley.

I read Judy Blume growing up so when I saw she had this book, I thought, "Oh, I should read this" because it'd be like a blast from the past. Not to give anything away, but it's about people's lives after witnessing a plane crash. It's taken me a while to get into it.

The other, "Consoling the Heart of Jesus," it's (for) a book retreat at my church. It's a group of people that meet one night a week and we read a certain amount (of the book). We come together and we talk about it - a little faith sharing. It's a really nice book to be reading going into Lent.

Can you tell us one of your favorite books growing up?

I've been trying to think about that. Reading was so much a part of my family life. Everybody read. I have an older brother and I know he read to me a lot as a kid. I remember being in elementary school and I really liked the Black Stallion books.

When I was bit older, one of my favorite authors was Melanie Rawn and she wrote "Dragon Prince." They were these big thick books of fantasy and a completely different world. There were six (in the series), and I loved them. In fact, I waited for the seventh forever, and it never came. She stopped after six. I was so disappointed because she just created this whole new world, as other authors have done. Those book series, when they get you, it's fun to be able to continue on with them.

How does your family like to consume books? Are you tablet users or do you like the printed book, or a variety?

I would say a variety. I have a Kindle and I do enjoy electronic books. I like being able to go to the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium and being able to get books, and they magically appear on my Kindle. I enjoy reading actual books, too. My daughter has read a couple of books on the Kindle; but really, she is a paper, hold-it-in-your-hand book reader. I would say we have done both. I have done more electronic books than my family has.

I also love audio books. They draw you in right away. I didn't read any of the "Harry Potter" books. I listened to all of them. The characters and the voicing, I remember being totally engrossed with them. I would hate to turn the car off or stop having to listen because it was so entertaining.

What book inspires you?

At one time, I read a book called "A Natural History of the Senses" and that book was just enlightening. New ideas, new perspective. It had been recommended to me, and I read it a while ago. It's a book that I own. I like the library because I will check out books. That was a book that I bought because I wanted to have a copy.

Inspired, in a different sense, I read "The Language of Flowers: A Novel." The flowers had the different meanings. I found that very interesting. Another book that just popped into my head - "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. Not that I do a lot of hiking, but I like the idea of hiking. The idea of doing the Appalachian Trail. I just think those kind of things are inspiring also.

If you could be a character in any book that you've read, who would you be?

I do like Kinsey Millhone. She solves those alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton. That would be kind of exciting, although I don't know that I'd want that dangerous job per se.

Can you tell us about a book that you were disappointed in?

Actually, I can think of two. One is "The Poisonwood Bible." People built that up to me. I didn't think it was as good as what everybody had said. Then, "Gone Girl." I had to force myself to finish it. It was disappointing. I liked "The Girl on the Train" a lot more than "Gone Girl." Not that they're exactly the same, but they're similar.

How do you decide what to read?

That's a great question. I will ask people what they're reading. I have a friend who is a librarian, and she's an avid reader. I will email her and say, "Hey, what are you reading right now?" Or "Do you have any book recommendations?" Often times I enjoy the things that she recommends, but not all.

I also really love the "Most Wanted" bookshelf that you have here at the library. This summer, I picked up several books off that shelf that I hadn't heard people talking about and really enjoyed them. Sometimes I just ask people that I'm working with, "What are you reading right now?" I hadn't really thought about reading either "Still Alice" or "If I Stay" until someone said, "Yeah, I read it, and I couldn't put it down." That's what I love to hear.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book, what would you want it to be?

The book that stands out in my mind right now is "Girl with a Pearl Earring." There's something about that book. I still have images of it in my mind. Maybe that one because it would take my mind off whatever troubles I was facing on the island.