What are you reading, Berit Kimrey?

Berit Kimrey holding a large stack of booksTell us about yourself (family, job, etc.)

I’m Berit Kimrey; married and mother of two sons living over in North Little Rock*. I work for Heifer International, where I’ve helped families around the world escape hunger and poverty. I’m an avid reader of anything fiction (historical romances, thrillers, mysteries, best sellers) and I maintain a complicated spreadsheet of upcoming releases by my favorite authors.  I add to it monthly as I find new authors that intrigue me. Currently, I’m tracking about 210 authors and their upcoming releases.

You call yourself the “Library Ninja”; where did that come from?

My friends tease me about the number of books I read a month. People are hungry for book recommendations, so I started posting on my personal Instagram with the hashtag #libraryninja. I feel like I move in and out of the library stealthily, grabbing things off the hold and 14-day shelf, so it stuck.

What are you reading (now, just finished, lined up to start soon)? If you’ve finished it, what’s your favorite part (no spoilers!)

I just read The Ballad of Laurel Springs by Janet Beard and it was bonkers amazing. I can’t even disclose a word without spoiling it. Lucy Foley hoodwinked me with The Paris Apartment which I truly didn’t see coming. I hadn’t read all the JoJo Moyes Me Before You trilogy and I came apart over those in January while traveling.  Also, excited about the new Daniel Silva that comes out in July, and I just read that John Irving is releasing a new book this year–he’s my favorite author.

What is your favorite memory of reading as a child? 

The  first book I remember reading is One Fish, Two Fish to my mom without any help. I was probably 3-4. My mother, who passed when I was six, used to tell me, “Read every single night, no matter what.” The Scholastic Book Fair was like Target to me; my dad would let me buy all the books I could carry, some of which I still have today.

Do you have any random literary-related story that you love to tell? 

I moderated a panel a few years ago at the Book Fest. I was absolutely geeked out to do it, especially since the genre was quite familiar: southern women’s authors. I’m sure they thought I was nuts because I was so hyped and eager to do it. My family is always after me to write a book, but until now, I struggled for that story. I have one in the back of my head so who knows, maybe I’ll get an ISBN one day!

Where is your favorite place (or time) to read?

I read every single night before bed- regardless of how tired I am or where I am. I’m not as big a TV viewer, but I’ll go through a couple of books on a Saturday if I’m not busy. I’ll read in my comfy Ikea chair or propped up in bed.

Book Hot Takes:

I doubt this is a hot take, but I’m passionately against banning books due to content. Books expand our lives and our minds and help explain what we don’t understand, what we don’t see, and what we usually fear. Banning them only strengthens hate and the inherent danger of censorship associated with it. As a child and youth, I was allowed to read anything I could find, and it helped shape me into the person I am today. Did I read inappropriate things for my age? Probably. However, in the thousands of books I’ve read, I’ve never regretted opening a single one- whether I thought it was bad or not.

Physical/ digital/ or audio?

I’m a physical book girl–I just love the smell of new books, and I’m always fascinated by the font choices, the paper (especially deckled edges), and the binding. However, when I travel for work, I usually take digital on the road, so I don’t lose a library book.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

I don’t. I’ve found that the most amazing books hide behind cover art or odd titles. When I’m not reading off my hold list, I’m browsing the 14-day shelf looking to pick up new authors.

Read for business or pleasure?

I read for pleasure mostly. If you ever need a new author or fictional series to try, I’m your gal.

*Berit is one of the roughly 1,200 people who lives outside of the CALS service area and pays for her membership. If you are outside the CALS service area and would also like to purchase an annual membership, that can be done here.