How do you find a good book to read at Fondren Library? I’m talking about something preliminary, nonspecific and subtle, something to read for pleasure, take with you on vacation, or suggest to your book club for discussion?
One place to start is by browsing the Friends of Fondren Library Contemporary Literature Collection on the first floor, near the entrance to the South Reading Room to the left of the library’s east entrance. Supported by funds from the Friends of Fondren Library, librarians selects books for this collection. Many of them are winners or finalists from recent literary competitions in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, such as Jaimy Gordon’s “The Lord of Misrule” (National Book Award for Fiction, 2010), Benjamin Sáenz’s “Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club” (Pen/Faulkner Award, 2013) and Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” (Man-Booker Prize, 2009). The collection also includes books with major reviews in the New York Times Book Review. Ultimately, books from this collection are shelved in Fondren’s main stacks, but first they are displayed downstairs.
Nearby is Fondren’s leisure reading collection. These books are as familiar and contemporary as those in an airport bookstore: works by Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark; mysteries by Sue Grafton (her well-known series is up to “U is for Undertow”); and show business memoirs by Steven Tyler and Tina Fey. Segal explains that Fondren rents these books. While they won’t necessarily join the library’s permanent collection, they are available to library borrowers to check out free of charge. An assortment of audio books, located near the leisure reading section, are also available.
You can browse these collections from home using guides to specific collections. The contemporary literature and leisure collections are listed under both “English Literature” and “Leisure Reading.” The Leisure Reading guide has four sections: Fiction in Fondren, Prize Winners & Best Sellers, E and Free Fiction, and Social Media. These tabs provide links to other sources and discussions of good books.