Friday, November 24, 2017
Books

What's Christa Smith reading?

RECOMMENDED READING


Nightstand

Christa Smith

Smith oversees the North Greenwood branch of the Clearwater Public Library System, located in one of Tampa Bay's oldest African-American communities. She has a hefty reading list now; however, as a child she was not a reader. Her passion for books came later. "I didn't read what was out there, the Hardy Boys or Judy Blume, because I did not connect with the characters. They didn't look like me,'' said Smith, 45. "I became interested only after I started volunteering in a library.''

Smith said she enjoys her vantage point. "I think a lot of the teenagers that come in are surprised to see me in this supervisor position,'' she said. "I spend time talking with them, not just on education, but on social things. I grew up in a community like theirs.''

Smith grew up in Daytona Beach and received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Central Florida and her master's in library science from the University of South Florida. She defines libraries as a reflection of the community. "It is a place with neutral ground. We don't push people's thoughts in any one direction,'' she said.

What's on your nightstand?

I'm reading The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2017 by Bob Salinger. I'm going in September. I'm reading a graphic novel, Josephine Baker by Jose-Luis Bocquet; Paper Girls Vol. I , a comic book; and a history book, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg. I am listening to that on audio. I mix it up. I listen to audio and read graphic novels and comic books, and then I mix it up a little bit with books like The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter and Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton.

How knowledgeable were you on the life of Josephine Baker?

I was pretty knowledgeable, but I love the format of graphic novel to tell this history lesson. It's not your basic history book. I think it is perfect for this age group. It's for, I would say, high school and up. Most people don't know about her background in St. Louis. It is very detailed. It's not one of your basic thin graphic novels.

And can you tell me about the selection of White Trash?

It was on one of the lists I receive, a readers advisory list. It's an adult book, although maybe a teenager or college student would read it. It goes over some tough material. I'd recommend it.

Contact Piper Castillo at pcastillo@tampabay.com. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
When to watch ‘Rudolph,’ ‘The Polar Express,’ ‘A Christmas Story Live’ and more holiday specials

When to watch ‘Rudolph,’ ‘The Polar Express,’ ‘A Christmas Story Live’ and more holiday specials

'Tis the season for a TV schedule packed with holiday specials and Christmas classics.We've already been seeing Christmas movies and commercials since early November, but the days following Thanksgiving are when all the networks kick into high gear.F...
Published: 11/22/17
How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born

How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born

Charles Dickens’ best-known and most beloved book almost didn’t happen. In 1843, Dickens, then 31, was already dealing with the downside of international success. He had followed bestsellers like Oliver Twist with several flops and was s...
Published: 11/22/17
What to watch this week: ‘Marvel’s Runaways,’ ‘Godless,’ Thanksgiving specials

What to watch this week: ‘Marvel’s Runaways,’ ‘Godless,’ Thanksgiving specials

MondayDavid Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize, 9 p.m., PBS: A special celebrating the work of Late Night and The Late Show host David Letterman.SERIES PREMIERE: Big Hero 6 the Series, 8 p.m., Disney Channel: The new animated series takes place after th...
Published: 11/20/17
Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Tampa Bay Times spotted a squirrel digging a nearly entire slice of pizza out of a trash can at 146 Second St. N in St. Petersburg. The squirrel hoppe...
Published: 11/17/17
Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

WINNERS:Taylor SwiftFollowing the death of his mother, Gloria, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon shared a touching story with the audience about his mom squeezing his hand three times and saying "I love you," when he was a kid. "Last week, I was in ...
Published: 11/17/17
Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

The parents in Runaways really are the worst.Hulu's new Marvel series follows a ragtag group of teenagers who have to band together to defeat their own parents, who are collective members of a secret criminal organization called the Pride.In the wake...
Published: 11/17/17
What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

GRIEF AND GUNS: THE PUNISHERMarvel fans first saw Marine veteran Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) in Netflix's Daredevil series. The brutish anti-hero finally gets his own series with The Punisher, exploring what he did after helping Daredevil (Charlie Co...
Published: 11/17/17
Review: George Saunders’ ‘Sea Oak’ makes a dead-funny TV comedy

Review: George Saunders’ ‘Sea Oak’ makes a dead-funny TV comedy

Recently, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.And now he has a TV show about zombies!Saunders, one of America’s best writers of fiction, won the 2017 Booker for his splendid novel Lincoln in t...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward is having a good year.At a glamorous ceremony Wednesday night in New York, Ward was named the winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing, about a Mississippi family's epic road trip. The book is Ward's third novel ...
Published: 11/16/17

Events: Tampa historians to sign books at hurricane relief benefit

Book TalkNancy Christie (Rut-Busting Book for Writers) will sign her book at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at 321 Books, 6901 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg.John Cinchett (Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes), Rex Gordon (History of Hillsborough High School), Linda ...
Published: 11/16/17