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Episode 11 – Librarian’s choice

Justin Hoenke

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Joining me virtually for this episode all the way from New Zealand is librarian Justin Hoenke! 

Justin has worked in public libraries all over the United States in various roles such as Coordinator of Tween/Teen Services at the Chatanooga Public Library and Executive Director of the Benson Memorial Library in Pennsylvania and has recently moved to New Zealand to take up the role of  Team Leader at Wellington City Library.

We talk about moving to New Zealand, lockdown and creating a tween/teen space at Chatanooga Public Library, working at a hub in Wellington as well as Justin’s favourite reads and just what he would pair with them for that wonderful reading experience.

The pairings:

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970 by Mark Lewishon and Paul McCartney

This is EMI Records’ official diary-format history of every Beatles recording session. Over 350 colour black & white photographs and illustrations, including rare photos by Linda McCartney and the first facsimile reproductions of Abbey Road recording sheets, tape boxes, album sleeve roughs, memos, contracts, press releases and much more.

A coffee table book which has been in Justin’s hands for a very long time. His best friend through his teenage years this is one of his go-to comfort reads. Justin paired this book with a very specific Ice Tea …  a lemon-flavoured, generic ice tea available at gas stations across America. Ah, nostalgia!


Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! by Dominic Priore

This book is a pastiche of magazine articles, newspaper clippings, session sheets, essays, interviews, pictures, reviews, and other miscellany related to the beach Boys and their legendary unreleased (at the time of the book’s publication) masterpiece Smile. Its modus operandi was to collect virtually all of the known writings about the album. Not for the casual “Beach Boys’ Greatest Hits” type of listener, but for hard core Beach Boys fans with a particular obsession with Smile, this book is a treasure trove. Due to the scrapbook format and frequently very small print with many of its 300 pages divided into 3,4, and sometimes even 5 columns, it’s a daunting, but ultimately very rewarding read. The book was compiled from the perspective of Smile being still unreleased, but is all the more enjoyable with the benefit of having heard the Smile Sessions (released in 2011).

Justin paired this book with his favourite milky, sweet tea – it reminds him of love and being loved and is a cosy pairing if ever there was!

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel is the story of a marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

I would pair this with one of my favourite cocktails … and perfect as a Quarantini … the Pisco Sour is tart, yet creamy, sour yet sweet and I think is a perfect pairing here! 


This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Skype, please forgive any minor technical glitches! 


Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.