What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?
I love memoirs and autobiographies. The opportunity to peek into another person’s lived experience and witness their story is so beautiful and interesting to me. My favorite book I have recently read in this genre is The Storyteller by Dave Grohl. My all-time favorite in this genre is Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. I tend to avoid horror but I will read a thriller on occasion.
What is a book that you’re afraid to read?
Anything by Stephen King. I want to because I know his work is beloved and he has written so many cult classics but I am reluctant.
Carrie Soto is Back is my fourth Taylor Jenkins Reid book and I am enjoying it so far. I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo but did not care for Malibu Rising as much.
Disability Visibility is a collection of essays by individuals with a variety of disabilities and experiences. I am about 30% finished with it and have learned so much already about experiences that are vastly different from my own. I think it is important as a human and as an educator to open myself up to the experiences and perspectives of as many different people as possible. Proximity allows us to see and value people as individuals and that is important to me.
What’s the last great book you read? The last book you recommended to everyone you know?
I recently read French Braid by Anne Tyler and have been thinking about it and recommending it since I read the last page. This novel takes the reader through several decades of a family’s story, alternating the point of view between a few of the family members. The story shines a light on how complicated and nuanced family dynamics can be, and how our individual relationships within the larger family impact who we become.
Do you have a favorite book no one else has heard of?
American Street by Ibi Zoboi. According to the number of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, people have definitely heard of this, but it was released a few years ago so I don’t hear much buzz about it lately. It is a YA novel and it is fantastic.
Which writers – novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets – working today do you admire most?
Two poets whose work I will always purchase, read, and revisit are Rupi Kaur and Kate Baer. Rupi Kaur’s work was a life raft during a challenging time in my life. Her work centers on growth and strength through trauma. Much of Kate Baer’s work, particularly her blackout poetry, tends to have a more pointed tone and centers on feminism
What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I found great joy in the dog’s internal monologue.
Do you prefer books that reach you emotionally, or intellectually?
Emotionally. When I get to the end of a Kristin Hannah novel and am struggling to read through the tears, I am happy.
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
I enjoyed reading as a child and I attribute that to my mom. We had a million Little Golden Books and I had the whole Fraggle Rock book series when I was very young. In the elementary school years, I loved the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner and many Judy Blume books.
Have your reading tastes changed over time?
Yes. For a long time I stuck to fiction and while I still love getting lost in a novel, I also quite enjoy reading non-fiction books to broaden my worldview and/or to strengthen my skills as an educator.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Sarah Bessey. These three voices have impacted me greatly. It would be an honor to be able to thank them for taking an open, compassionate, nuanced approach to faith and to engage in conversation with them over dinner.
What do you plan to read next?
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
What book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV series that hasn’t already been adapted?
I actually rarely watch a movie or TV series that is based on a book I have read. I want to appreciate each art form for what it is, but I struggle with making the jump from what I pictured in my head while reading to what is depicted on screen. I adored Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, and others but I have not watched the TV adaptations and I am not sure if I will.
What’s the last book you read that made you cry?
Most recently, French Braid by Anne Tyler, but since I have already mentioned that I will share another one. Anxious People by Fredrick Backman. That book is such a gorgeous, bittersweet illustration of humanity.