I recently discovered a feature in the New York Times Book Review called By the Book. Basically they interview writers (or other well-read personalities) about their reading habits. Some of my favorite authors have done it, so I had fun combing through the archives. Then I decided to conduct my own By the Book interview . . . with myself.
What book is on your night stand now?
If by my night stand you mean the top of my dresser, then there’s quite a collection. I have the first two books of the original Sevenwaters trilogy because gloomy winter seemed like the perfect time to reread them. I have Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I never got around to reading during Read More for Four. There’s also an advanced reader’s copy of The Dinner by Herman Koch that the booksellers are passing around.
When and where do you like to read?
When? Anytime! As I get older I might be becoming pickier about the “where.” During the day I like to read on the big comfy couch in my apartment. I also like to read in bed.
What was the last truly great book you read?
Gee, I never talk about this on the blog. In the last few months, Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan definitely impressed me above all others.
Are you a fiction or a nonfiction person? What’s your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?
I’m a fiction person who is trying to become well-rounded. I see interesting nonfiction titles at work, but fiction always seems to take precedent. I read mostly realistic fiction with a smattering of fantasy and sci-fi. As for guilty pleasures, I will happily own up to most of my reading choices. I did read the Sookie Stackhouse series for a while though.
What book changed your life?
Honestly Harry Potter probably had the longest lasting effects. Those books were a part of my life from ages 11 to 18 (and beyond). I can’t imagine my teenage years without midnight movie premieres and book releases parties.
What is your ideal reading experience? Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry? One that teaches you something or one that distracts you?
An ideal reading experience is one that does all of these things. That’s why I recommend The Fault in Our Stars so highly to anyone who will listen. I think that you can be completely engrossed in a book that simultaneously makes you think.
What were your favorite books as a child? What book do you like to read to children?
Beverly Cleary books were a huge part of my elementary years. Her characters were like friends – Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Barbara MacLane. Harry Potter came on the scene at age 11. I love to read Mo Willems books with my five-year-old nephew. He never gets sick of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
What was the last book you just couldn’t finish?
I never finished Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott. I feel horrible saying that because she’s one of my writer role models. It was a matter of timing, and this book just happened to be too bleak for my mood last January.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?
It would be a tossup between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. (I am cliché, hear me roar.) With J.K. Rowling I would be cajoling her to let me see the box of notes that she once showed on an A&E biography. With Jane Austen I would bother her with questions about her writing process. The woman was a master of plotting, so you have to wonder how she organized.
What are your reading habits? Do you read paper or electronic books? Do you take notes? Have you ever written to an author?
I remain loyal to paper, but I respect the functionality of e-books for certain lifestyles. There’s just something about the tactile experience of holding a book that I don’t want to give up. If I take notes, it’s on a separate piece of paper because I have an unhealthy obsession with keeping my books pristine. I once sent an email to YA author Carolyn Mackler after reading Love and Other Four-Letter Words, and she sent me a brief but lovely reply.
What book made you want to become a writer?
As a kid I wanted to write for whatever age group I happened to be in. Then in sixth grade I read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen, which was my first exposure to the young adult genre. The urge to be a YA author stuck with me after that, excepting a few detours in college.
What do you plan to read next?
One of those books on my dresser, I suppose. It should probably be The Dinner so that I can pass it on to another bookseller.