There are so many great books that it's a challenge to focus on just one; for Kristine Benshoff, there's always a stack of bookmarked books by her bed.
Between James Patterson's thriller novels, Barbara Delinsky's emotional stories and Carl Hiaasen's humorous pieces, there is never a dull moment for Benshoff.
"I don't really re-read that many books; I like to read new titles, mostly," Benshoff said in an e-mail. The exceptions are cookbooks, with some of her favorite recipes including Marcella Hazan's fish soup and Emeril Lagasse's cheese grits.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Benshoff, 59, moved with her family to the suburbs of Frankfurt at 13, where she learned to speak French and German. Three years later, her family moved back to the U.S.
In 1975, Benshoff got her undergraduate degree in German from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. She soon realized she didn't want to be a language instructor.
With an interest in different topics, she went back to school and received a master's degree in library science from the University of Michigan in 1982. Her husband, Albert, finished his master's degree in regional planning the same year and accepted a job in South Carolina, where they both moved a year later.
"It's one of those portable professions," said Benshoff, who found a job as a librarian at St. Vincent's Academy in Savannah, Ga. "You learn a little bit about different disciplines ... what the important works and sources are."
A couple years later, Benshoff and her family moved to Raleigh, where she spent 11 years as a librarian at the Saint Mary's School. After that, she worked with the Cumberland County Public Library in Fayetteville
Now living in Concord, Benshoff is the adult services librarian at the Concord Library, overseeing the information desk and adult programs. She seeks creative ways to engage people in reading books they normally would not. The adult book club and "Let's Talk About It" program are ways people can discuss what they've read, she said.
"You never stop learning," Benshoff said. "There are books I might not pull off the shelf. And then having a scholar come in and talk about it and help discuss it with you ... it's fascinating."
A couple years ago, Benshoff and other staff members instituted the program "One Book, One Community" at the Concord Library. It kicked off with N.C. author Clyde Edgerton's book "Walking Across Egypt."
"It's a way to promote literacy and bring people together for different activities that focus on a book," said Benshoff. The library now hopes to have Tim O'Brien come and speak about his book "The Things They Carried."
Cabarrus County Public Library has sustained some staffing cuts, which makes efforts like these a little harder; but, Benshoff said, she wants to expand computer classes and coordinate teen programs during the school year.
Benshoff says she isn't picky about what young readers choose. "Read what you like. If you like magazines or whatever, that's fine, just as long as you are reading," she said.