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Courtenay Grass ’02

The reader

She had always been a reader, taking after her late dad, David Grass ’67. Her first job was shelving books at the library and, while a DePauw student, she did that in summers too.

So Courtenay Grass ’02, who majored in English literature at DePauw and got a master’s in library science, was horrified a few years ago when, looking at the Goodreads app – what she calls “social media for book lovers” – she realized she had read only one book the previous year.

Cover of CasteA friend “was in the same boat,” and together they resolved to read a book a month. That New Year’s resolution was “the only one I’ve ever kept” – and surpassed, said Grass, who rates books on Goodreads and posts about them on Instagram.

Grass, regional coordinator for a mortgage company, likes a variety of genres – thrillers, historical and contemporary fiction, nonfiction and memoirs. She usually uses the Libby app to borrow books from the library; binges on her Kindle on weekends (and loads the device before vacations); and recently bought a chair to furnish a dedicated reading spot in her home.  

Cover of Are You There GodBooks provide escapism for her, but one of her three book clubs has the serious mission of selecting books written by female authors with a focus on diversity. “We need to expose ourselves intentionally to different people because that’s how you learn,” she said.

“Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson should be required reading, she said. She read “Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume “over and over and over” as a youngster and counts it among her favorites. Others are “Unbroken,” “The Good Earth,” “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and “Untamed.”

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