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Working the stacks at the library from A to Z

Summer, winter, spring or fall, Tobi Davis, director of operations for the Plan Sponsor Council of America in Chicago, uses a time-tested strategy to reap an unlimited supply of great reads.

"I'm like a kid in a candy store when I go to the library and usually come home with many more books than I can read in a three-week period. Luckily, the library is free! To help handle my appetite, many years ago, probably 20 years or so, I decided to leave the new books shelf and go into the stacks. Starting with the beginning of the alphabet, going through authors whose names began with A, then B, etc., I picked out interesting reads. I am now in the M's. I'm not reading every book, only those that intrigue me. I have found wonderful gems, often overlooked. Some are newer authors, and some are the classics. I had the chance to re-read some Faulkner, discover a long family saga series by a Canadian author who wrote in the 1930s and I've found international writers who have some or all their books translated into English. When I get through the Z's, I'll start over and find all the new books since I started all those years ago. Hopefully I'll live long enough to do that!"

So far this summer, Ms. Davis has read Hala Alyan's debut novel, "Salt Houses." "The story handles immigration, assimilation, generational differences and what it means to be a family, written with lyrical prose. It is so timely, dealing with a Palestinian family who are looking for a place to call home. The author is a poet who lived in the Middle East and now in the U.S., and it is her poetic sense that I felt throughout the book. This is a book that will resonate with me for a long time. I now want to find and read her poetry."

More fiction, "The Center of Everything" by Laura Moriarty and "Travelers Rest"by Keith Lee Morris, are the next books on Ms. Davis' summer list.

"I don't read many finance books, unless I'm reviewing one written by a PSCA member. Last year, I read Liz Davidson's first book, 'What Your Financial Advisor Isn't Telling You: The 10 Essential Truths You Need to Know About Your Money,' which I loved!" Ms. Davis said the book is "written for the layperson, and helps people understand how to handle their finances and how to choose an adviser. It's written in an easy, friendly manner and includes real stories of people whose financial troubles were overcome by learning from Liz and her team how to better handle their money."