Editor’s Note: Nancy Pearl is known as “America’s Librarian.” She speaks about the pleasures of reading throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR and hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She has received the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal. She is so beloved that there is actually a Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure. And, she has just published her first novel, GEORGE & LIZZIE.
There’s a paradox at the heart of my personality. I am not an extrovert—I don’t love parties and other large get-togethers. But I do have a limitless curiosity about the lives of other people. (I’m afraid the word “voyeur” might be applicable here.) One of my favorite activities is to meet someone for the first time and hear the story of her life. Perhaps that’s why I am particularly fond of character-driven fiction. Over the years I’ve gotten to spend time with some of the most interesting people in the world—Anne Shirley, Thursday Next, Sam Vimes, Harriet Vane, Kate Vaiden, Mayer Landsman, Jo March, Miles Vorkosigan (just saying their names makes me smile). In these six novels, you will meet some of the most interesting and memorable characters that you’d ever want to spend 350 pages with.
A satire that focuses on the bureaucratic and behind-the-scenes side of academia, this uproarious novel is set at the fictional West Central Pennsylvania University. William Devereaux, chair of the English department, is nearing fifty and stuck in a creative rut. When layoff season comes, the whole place goes crazy with budget concerns and tenure arguments, resulting in a laugh-out-loud read.