What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?
It depends on the day, but recently I’ve been reading and enjoying a lot of historical fiction. I’m learning that I like almost anything by Kate Atkinson. I tend to avoid romance or anything labeled “self-help.”
What is a book you dislike/hate that everyone loves?
I cannot seem to get into a number of “the classics” (anything by Jane Austen, for example).
Do you remember the last time you put down a book without finishing?
I tend to push through books once I start them, but the last one I nearly put down was Idiot by Laura Clery. I’m about to abandon The World Deserves My Children by Natasha Leggero as well. These books have the same thing in common: the authors are comediennes who are trying way too hard to be funny by adding in “punchy” jokes and commentary. I’d rather they just tell their stories and let the funny stuff happen naturally rather than try to force it.
What book is currently sitting on your nightstand?
I have a lot on my nightstand at the moment! Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley, Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese, Jackal by Erin E. Adams, I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein, Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young, Black Cake by Charmain Wilkerson, and Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. What can I say? All my library holds came in at once.
What’s the last great book you read?
I recently read Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson and thought it was truly wonderful. I also loved Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu, and Solito by Javier Zamora.
The last book you recommended to everyone you know?
Lisa Jewell wrote The Family Upstairs and its sequel, The Family Remains. I listened to the audiobook version of both and thought that added an extra layer to my experience and enjoyment of these novels. I have recommended them to anyone who will listen to me go on and on about how great they are.
Describe your ideal reading experience (when, what, where, how).
Before kids, I could read with abandon for an entire day on any given weekend: in my PJs, in bed or on the couch, and with coffee. Now that I have kids, I read wherever and whenever I can steal a few moments to do so, which is usually about 30 minutes at a time in the bath at night. It’s actually also a nice way to do some reading.
Do you have a favorite book no one else has heard of?
I love anything by Irvine Welsh, and not many Americans I’ve spoken to about him have heard of his work as a novelist. They may have heard of the film Trainspotting, but many people I talk to about him don’t know that it was a book…much less that the man who wrote the book that inspired the film has written a lot more than just that.
What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?
My Grandmother Asked Me to tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman made me laugh quite a bit. Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris was pretty serious at times but had a few funny moments as well.
What kind of reader were you as a child?
My mother went back to college when I was 3, so I can remember going to her college library to “do research” with her, which was really just hanging out in the children’s section while she did actual research. I was a voracious reader as a result of all the time I spent at the library during those years.
Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
My favorite childhood book is hands-down Never Tease a Weasel by Jean Conder Soule. It’s a bit hard to come by these days—especially a copy that has the original illustrations—but I still have my first print edition. I hope my kids treasure it one day like I have all these years.
Have your reading tastes changed over time?
My reading tastes have definitely changed! I used to really enjoy long, heavy literature, and these days, I’m happiest when I can breeze through a book. It’s much more enjoyable to me now. Do you think they will change in the future? As time goes on, I’m sure my tastes will change again. There’s too much out there to stick to one genre.
What do you plan to read next?
I just started Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sanchez. I like it so far!
What’s the last book you read that made you cry?
I didn’t actually cry, but I came close to it at the end of Solito. Now that I’m a mom to 2 boys, I have a soft spot for young, male protagonists (and this is a memoir, so it is real-life storytelling!). Peach Blossom Spring did make me shed a few tears at the end, and I can’t really explain exactly why without giving away the plot. Suffice it to say that I identified with one of the characters, and I thought it was a beautiful, multi-generational story that taught me a few things I didn’t know and ended in a thoughtful and emotional way.
Where do you find your books?
I usually get my books from the library! As a former librarian, it goes without saying that I believe in, support, and love libraries.
Where do you look when you’re searching for your next great read?
I’m currently working my way through Goodreads’ “Best of 2022” books, as decided by a readers-choice poll. I’ve read some good ones and some stinkers, but it’s been nice to go through the list because there are all different categories of winners: fiction, memoirs, humor, young adult, etc. It has made me get outside of my comfort zone and read things I wouldn’t normally read. My goal was to read 52 books this year—one for each week of the year—and I’m currently up to 47. I think I’m going to make it. :-)