Sages Reader Spotlight: Bob Ross

Sages Reader Spotlights are an opportunity to shout out some of the many amazing book lovers in our community. We think you'll see some familiar faces in these reader profiles and we know that you'll get some great recommendations and inspiration to help you complete your own Sages Read 2021 Challenge. Don't miss the links to this Sages Reader's recommendations below. We've even matched them up to this year's challenge categories for you.

If you live or work in Monticello, chances are you've seen Bob Ross around town. No, not that Bob Ross! Monticello's own Bob Ross is an equally gentle soul, who has worked as a letter carrier here in town for more than 20 years. What you might not know about Bob is that he's an avid reader and, with more than a little help from his wife Michelle, the steward of one of Monticello's eight (and counting) Little Free Libraries. Bob was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to us for the inaugural Sages Reader Spotlight.

SAGES READ: How long have you lived in Monticello?
BOB ROSS: We moved to Monticello in 1998 and I've been a letter carrier on my own route here since 2000.

SR: Have you always been an avid reader?
BR: I started reading books in early elementary school and have always enjoyed reading. I would have no problem living without television, but I always have to have a book in hand.

SR: This is always a tough question for book lovers, but do you have a favorite author, series, or genre?
BR: Some of my favorite authors are Ken Follett, Greg Isles, John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Karl Marlantes, Leif Enger, and Larry McMurty. I'm not usually a huge fan of westerns, but the Lonesome Dove books by Larry McMurty rank very high on my list of favorites. I also like some of the earlier Stephen King books — The Stand, The Shining — the classics, if you will. Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth novels and his Century trilogy are some of my favorites, as well.

SR: What was your favorite book from 2020?
BR: I read many good books in 2020, so it's hard to narrow down. I'll give you what were probably my top three: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger, who is another of my go-to authors; Deep River by Karl Marlantes; and The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett.

SR: What's the best book you've read so far this year?
BR: The best I've read so far this year is probably A Time for Mercy by John Grisham. Right now, I'm reading We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker.

SR: Tell us about your Little Free Library — where can folks find it?
BR: Our Little Free Library is located in the Surrey Hills subdivision. It's in a little grove of trees at the end of a deadend road, facing Timberview Street. My wife Michelle picked up an old News Gazette newspaper box, painted it orange and blue, and turned it into our Little Free Library.

SR: Why did you decide to start a Little Free Library?
BR: It was actually Michelle's idea. I have accumulated quite a number of books through the years and she suggested that we could share some of them via a Little Free Library. It was last spring during lockdown when the public library had to be closed, so it seemed like a good time to share books with our neighbors. Over the past year, I've seen both adults and children from our neighborhood visit and take books. Most people leave books in it, as well.

Learn more about all of the Little Free Libraries in Monticello on Facebook.

2021 Sages Read Challenge Inspiration
  • Read a nonfiction history or historical fiction book not set in WWII

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)

  • Read a book with a bilingual character

Deep River by Karl Marlantes (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)

  • Read a mystery by an author you've never read before

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (Find it at Hartfield | Find it at Allerton Library)


Sages Read is list of reading challenges intended to get our community reading and discussing books together. Learn more about this year's challenge categories and prize opportunities on the Sages Read website.