About Me

John the Librarian

My preferred pronouns are he / him.

I review upcoming science fiction and occasional popular science nonfiction for Booklist. I sometimes dabble in readers’ advisory.

I was born and raised in Fargo, ND (too small) and lived in Chicago for just shy of 18 years (too big) before I moved to Kansas City. I call KC my “Goldilocks town” because it’s just right.

My wife and I have the sweetest dog in the world.


I received my Master’s Degree of Library & Information Science in January 2011 from the Graduate School of Library & Information Science (now the School of Information Studies) at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. In July 2011, I began my career in public libraries in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Prior to that, I worked for over a decade on the technical side of live theater and special events, doing running crews, scenic carpentry, lighting, operations, and logistics. Subsequently, I spent a few years as a general office jockey for a variety of health and support-related nonprofits.

In 2006-7, I took seven months off and didn’t work. It’s the second best thing I ever did for myself.

Read more about my graduate student work »

Affiliations & Memberships

I’m a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation and the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society.

My Favorite Book

As a librarian, I’m frequently asked what my favorite book is. This is the most honest answer I can give:

I’ve had more favorite books over the course of my life than I can remember. Even now, my favorite book changes depending on the day, the season, my mood.

My favorite book has been: the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, Kim Stanley Robinon’s Mars trilogy, Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space universe, the original Ender trilogy from Orson Scott Card, James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Andy Weir’s The Martian. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch completely blew my mind in the best way. It’s been the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos, and Tad William’s Otherland series. I’ve never stopped thinking about Grendel by John Gardner since I first read it. Sometimes it’s the Iliad of Homer, the Inferno of Dante, Boccaccio’s Decameron, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, or all of Søren Kierkegaard’s work. It’s anything by Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett or Alan Moore or Octavia Butler. J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Samuel Delany never wrote a bad story or a misplaced word. I’m obsessed with Nnedi Okorafor, N. K. Jemisin, Kameron Hurley, Martha Wells, and K. B. Wagers. I’ll drop just about anything for a work by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip José Farmer, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, or John Banville. I like Tony Hillerman, Robert Parker, Jonathan Kellerman, and Ian Rankin. To say nothing of all the non-fiction I’ve read: histories, biographies, science, philosophy, theology, and many plays. The ending of Dean Koontz’s Watchers make me bawl like a baby every single time, I re-read the novel Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover surprisingly often, and I will always believe that Where the Red Fern Grows is a better book than Old Yeller.

But usually my favorite book is whichever one I’m reading now.