Do you have a guilty pleasure book?
The Red Sparrow Trilogy – written by retired CIA officer Jason Matthews, these books paint an all-too-real picture of political espionage in a modern-day Cold War driven by Vladimir Putin. Readers follow the journeys of two spies – one American, one Russian – whose stories become inextricably linked.
Fair warning – I thought the film adaptation of Red Sparrow (book one) was TERRIBLE and strayed too far from the book. Avoid at all costs, but don’t be deterred from reading the trilogy!
What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?
I’ve always been a fan of dystopian fiction like The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, the Divergent series (another series poorly adapted for film), and the Hunger Games series. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked out the Hunger Games series, I highly recommend reading the latest installment, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel published in 2020 which follows a young Coriolanus Snow, future president of Panem.
As a teen I consumed romantic fiction ad nauseum from authors like Nicholas Sparks and Sarah Dessen. I now typically avoid this genre as it once created a hopeless romantic who got a harsh dose of reality in adulthood!
What is a book that you’re afraid to read?
I’m at the point in my life where I have The Baby Decision: How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life by Merle Bombardieri downloaded on my Kindle – enough said.
What is a book you dislike/hate that everyone loves?
Despite reading every other book assigned to me as a student, I was never able to get through A Tale of Two Cities. I was very appreciative of CliffsNotes in that 7th grade class!
What’s the last great book you read?
The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl – I’m a Foo Fighters fanatic and want to be his best friend even more after reading his autobiography.
Describe your ideal reading experience.
I love lying on a beach, listening to the ocean, and falling asleep with a book over my face, shielding me from the sun. This experience is generally reserved for when I travel, making me realize I should take more day trips to Galveston for the soul!
Do you have a favorite book no one else has heard of?
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley – I first read this as an adult through a “YA for Adults” book club (the LSC-CyFair Library has a great one!) and felt I was reliving aspects of my own adolescence through the protagonist.
What book might people be surprised to find on your bookshelf?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – while I have many *expletives* to give, after reading this book I’m now more selective about when and to whom I give them. Yay, healthy boundaries!
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?
Although I now struggle with the Harry Potter series due to J.K. Rowling’s apparent transphobia, I aged alongside the main characters and always aspired to be like Hermione Granger – a clever, quick-witted, library-loving, problem solver and loyal friend. (In true Hermione fashion, I also appreciate Emma Watson’s allyship and her condemnation of Rowling’s insensitive comments.)
Have your reading tastes changed over time?
While I used to be an avid fiction reader, in recent years I’ve consumed more nonfiction than ever before, especially (auto)biographies. I enjoy learning about people, their stories, and what makes them tick.
What do you plan to read next?
Spare by Prince Harry, if I ever make it through the endless library hold queue. I’m also waiting on Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry.
Where do you look when you’re searching for your next great read?
Why, the LSC-CyFair Library of course! But seriously, digital access to eBooks and audiobooks has been a game changer for me as I’m always on the go. I strongly recommend downloading the Libby app and linking your library card(s)!