The Library Corner at SLCC: The Epigraph Speaks

Librarian Sharon Lavender

Jan Bobbett

When I’m looking through our shelves for a new read, I check for the author’s name (of course) and my preferred font size, etc. Next, I read some of the text to see whether the writing style and content feel comfortable. Then I turn to pages just before page 1 and check to see whether there is a “blurb” that reveals an insight the author wants to share. That blurb is called an epigraph.

Not every author bothers with epigraphs. But those who do might be showing a little more depth in that an epigraph is a phrase or quotation that can serve as a hint to the book’s theme. Often it’s by another writer and used by the author to suggest a fuller message.

To make this relevant to you and our other readers, I spent some time in our SLCC library looking at the (mostly) hardcover books—checking for epigraphs.

Here are three examples of epigraphs from our books on the open shelves:

1) “One should not put a loaded rifle onto the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” Found in C.J. Box’s Letter to Alexander, and it’s by Anton Chekhov.

2) “The only quiet woman is a dead one.” Found in Lazarev’s She Was the Quiet One. It’s by Sylvia Plath.

3) “Laugh at death, but weep at those who die before their time.” Found in Connolly’s Little Lovely Things. It’s an old Irish saying.

Here are a few more examples. Books and authors are not identified, but the books are all found in our library:

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

 “When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends up deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”

 “The twisted tree lives its life while the straight tree ends up in blanks.”

And three more—my favorites:

 “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

 “When the Goddess of Wealth comes to give you her blessing, you shouldn’t leave the room to wash your face.”

 “I don’t want learning, or dignity, or respectability. I want this music and this dawn, and the warmth of your cheek against mine.”

Our November Librarian: Meet Sharon Lavender

Sharon worked as an educator and librarian for over 10 years. Originally from Seattle, she moved to Arizona in 1977 and to Sun Lakes in 2013.

Her favorite authors are favored by many of our readers: C.J. Box and Michael Connolly. Two of her other favorites are J.A. Jance and Jon Talton—both from Arizona. You might have guessed that she prefers mystery books, and she also enjoys historical fiction. In addition, Sharon is a great conversationalist.