Librarians’ Best Book Picks: Andrienne Cruz, Azusa Public Library, Azusa, California

Need help finding a few good books to read? Librarian Andrienne Cruz at the Azusa Public Library is here to help. She talked with Celadon about what she reads, the book everyone is checking out, and the novel she recommends to patrons in doubt.

By Celadon Team

What does the world get wrong about librarians?
That it’s an easy job. Librarians, particularly public librarians, do a lot of juggling—interacting with the public, performing administrative tasks, doing cleanup, advocating for the library’s needs, and anticipating trends for pop culture and current events.

What have been the biggest book trends at your library in the past 6 months?
Our library has a lot of holds on Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Thrillers and mysteries in audio format also get checked out regularly. Other than that, our circulation is primarily driven by juvenile fiction [by authors like Raina Telgemeier] and classics [by authors like Steinbeck and Hemingway].

What book has made the greatest impact on you?
How to Want What You Have: Discovering the Magic and Grandeur of Ordinary Existence by Timothy Miller. It has stayed with me ever since I saw a copy at a used bookstore. Finding happiness in the littlest things helps me live a life of gratitude.

What book do you recommend most and why?
I recommend The Breakdown by B.A. Paris a lot. It’s the book that I suggest to folks who want to come back to reading but don’t know where to start. It’s clever and the tension is sustained–you don’t realize [until the end] that you’ve finished the book in one sitting. For many who feel like they can’t finish a book because it’s tedious, this one hits it out of the park.

Do you have a favorite genre?
Literary Fiction mixed in with a dash of thriller, science fiction, or mystery. I love the introspection, the stylistic writing, and the heft of emotions that the Literary Fiction genre provides.

What’s the last great book you read?
Foe by Iain Reid. A couple is disturbed by a mysterious invitation in what seems to be a simple plot, but the book envelopes the reader in a fascinating and tense atmosphere that fills the reader with uncertainty and dread.

Where is your favorite bookstore?
For indie, I like Vroman’s in Pasadena—I like how they curate their book offerings and they feature eclectic knickknacks. I go to Barnes & Noble, too, because I never know what kind of discounted gem I might find. My recent find was a hardcover of The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder.

What’s the most unique or memorable book request you’ve gotten?
I had a request for a Japanese book without any Romanized equivalent [Japanese words using the English alphabet] regarding Bushido, [the code of conduct for the samurai]. I couldn’t read the Japanese characters or even sound it out! I can’t tell you what kind of librarian magic I conjured, but I relied on images and ISBN to find the ultimately out-of-print book using Worldcat.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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