Whether she's sitting down and relaxing, going for a walk or driving in her vehicle, chances are good that Sam Pauley of Ghent is reading or listening to a book.
Pauley is this year's Minneota Public Library's Winter Reading Program winner after reading 43 books from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2021.
"I've always loved to read," said Pauley, the manager of the AgPlus C-Store in Minneota. "If I'm not reading a book, I'll listen to audio books when I go walking or when I'm in the car."
To put the number of books Pauley absorbed over the winter months in perspective, she averaged nearly one book read or listened to every two days.
For her efforts, Pauley was given an Easter basket with candy, note cards and a gift certificate to City Hall Bar & Grill.
"We also had an extra challenge for readers, too," said librarian Gail Perrizo. "Sam read 25 books that matches certain criteria on our Book Bingo card."For that extra challenge, Pauley received a copy of Minneota native Dana Yost's book "1940: Journal of a Midwestern Town, Story of an Era".
Those participating in the reading program must check out the books or audio books from the public library to be counted. The contest is also run on an honor system.
David Myrvik won the challenge last year.
"My goal was to beat David," laughed Pauley.
Pauley has participated in the Winter Reading Program for the past eight years. A Civil War and history aficionado, Pauley decided to read a variety of books, rather than focusing just on her favorite subjects.
"I do like historical fiction and non-fiction the most," she said. "But I did want to challenge myself and read different types of books."
So she read historical, romance, mystery and even a how-to book for the Winter Reading Program and/or extra challenge portion.
Pauley's favorite author is Julie Garwood, who has written over numerous romance novels in both historical and suspense subgenres. She has had 24 New York Times Bestsellers.
When not competing in the Winter Reading Program, Pauley averages reading around 9 or 10 books per month.
"I read 112 books last year," she said. "I'm usually always reading something."

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