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July 16, 2012

Librarian Ann Boles Reports on John Irving’s Presentation at the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim


Ann Boles is the head librarian at Wickenburg Public Library in Wickenburg, Arizona. In June, she attended the John Irving presentation at ALA. In this interview, Ann talks about the event, when her love of Irving started, and what he said about his newest book, IN ONE PERSON. Irving has written nine international bestsellers and has won an Oscar for his adapted sceenplay of his novel, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES.

Have you been a longtime John Irving fan?

I have been a John Irving fan ever since I read The World According to Garp, so many years ago that I can’t even remember when it was. 

Which book of his have you enjoyed the most?

I have to go back to The World According to Garp.  I love reading a book that makes me laugh out loud, and that one certainly did, but it also has great depth and lots to think about.

Tell us about the crowd at the event.

The crowd at the John Irving presentation at the American Library Association annual conference was, as you might expect, full of book-loving librarians.  But, as John Irving showed in his book, librarians don’t usually live up to the stereotype.  So the crowd was varied, interested, and respectful.

What did he share about IN ONE PERSON?

This is a book about a bisexual man.  He said he has been asked if it is difficult to imagine having sex with another man.  He said that was much easier to imagine than it is to imagine never having sex at all, as is the case with a couple of his characters from other books.  He also said the character is not at all based on his son, who is homosexual. 

You mentioned that you had started reading the book, but had put it down as something had come up, but after his talk you wanted to pick it up again. What prompted you to say that?

It is always inspiring to hear an author talk about his or her work, and the fact that one of the main characters is an unconventional librarian makes it all the more intriguing to me as a librarian.  I’ve been looking through the book while thinking about your questions, and I’m ready to sink back into the story again.