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Wed, Jan. 19

Memoirs offer chance to 'meet' history's most interesting people

As a general rule, my reading interests lean toward fiction.

However, lately I have been gravitating toward nonfiction, especially memoirs.

My interest was piqued when I heard Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States; Cicely Tyson, famous actress; and Ruby Bridges, American civil rights activist, share their stories during a virtual conference hosted by the American Library Association.

To learn more about these extraordinary women, their lives, and how they persevered, I checked out the following books from the Yavapai Library Network: “Crazy Brave: A Memoir” by Joy Harjo, “Just as I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson, and “Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story” by Ruby Bridges.

After reading these books, I decided to ask my colleagues at the library three questions.

What famous person, alive or deceased, would you like to meet?

Why did you choose this individual?

What would you ask him/her?

Here are their responses.

Judy Poe, library director: There are so many people I would love to meet ... Edward Abbey, John Muir, James Wesley Powell, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Picasso, Van Gogh, Frieda Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, Nina Simone, Galileo, Charles Darwin, Jerry Garcia, and Edgar Allen Poe. It’s impossible for me to answer this question.

Eric Petersen, assistant library director: I would like to meet Johann Sebastian Bach. His music is some of my favorite. He was a true genius, craftsman, and artist. I would ask him how he managed his lifetime to be able to get everything done.

Viviane Kraus, youth services librarian: I would like to meet Harriet Tubman. I chose Harriet because she risked her life to save so many others. I would ask her about how she survived living in fear and how she overcame that fear.

Stacie Rivera, volunteer coordinator: I change every day. Today I would like to meet Simone Biles. I chose her because she has overcome so much in her life and is so successful. I would ask her how she developed so much determination and discipline. How does she stay positive?

Teri Ruiz, programs & marketing coordinator: I would like to meet the unknown mastermind who designed and built the Great Pyramid. I would ask her “why?”

Jim Thomas, facilities manager: I chose Nikola Tesla because all of his inventions, whether he got credit for them or not, were with the intentions of helping all humanity. I would ask him two questions. Since you were so ahead of your time with your ideas, where did these ideas come from? Was it just theories that you had or did something happen to make you feel like these things were possible?

If you are interested in reading biographies and memoirs, check out the numerous resources available in the Yavapai Library Network. If you need assistance searching or placing a hold, please contact the Library. We are here to help.

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