Since this is my first post, a few words of introduction seem in order. I am a writer, teacher, and avowed book lover (more on these at my “about” page). Here is where I will write about what I’m reading and my other bookish pursuits (attending author talks, visiting literary landmarks, etc.).
So what do I read? I enjoy almost all genres, except horror and erotica, which have in common that they tend to be more explicit that I favor. I prefer ambiguity and allusion because I have it in my head that they make me work a little harder, stimulate my imagination, and compel me to think. But I suspect this is me crafting a clever cover for the fact that I just don’t like to read explicit violence and sex. I find it alarming.
As a reader, I tend to go through phases. One recent year was devoted entirely to Russian classics I had never read in school (it came to an end when I tried, and failed, to read Dead Souls). Another year was spent inhaling memoirs, especially by or about Middle Eastern women. This led to me spending six or so months reading travel and expat memoirs almost exclusively. The last few years, I’ve been reading contemporary novels. At the moment, I’m preoccupied with 19th century literature, particularly Charles Dickens, and literature for middle grade readers. I am also drawn to novels set during World War II, reading memoirs, and books that are optimistic about the human condition. Cynical books are the ones mostly likely to end up on my did-not-finish pile.
This post could conceivably go on forever and ever and ever, so in the interest of brevity (and because I like lists), here are ten things about me as a reader:
- Reading has been my favorite pastime since I discovered, in first grade, that books could power my imagination, and I strongly suspect that I remember the plots of my favorite childhood books better than I remember my own childhood experiences.
- Nine of my favorite books growing up:
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor
- Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
- Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
- A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
- Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
- I do not leave my house without a book (or my Nook GlowLight Plus). I might forget my cell phone and/or find myself running back into my house for my keys. But I never forget to bring a book.
- My favorite living novelists are Haruki Murakami and Nick Hornby. I’ve never read a book of theirs that I didn’t like, and I’ve read almost every book each has written.
- My favorite classic novelist is Charles Dickens. My current reading challenge is to read his entire canon. And if I can sneak in a trip to England to walk in his footsteps, so much the better!
- I love hearing authors talk about their books and talking about what I read almost as much as I love to read. So of course, I have to keep reading so I can keep having books to talk about.
- Keeping a journal of my daily life would seem boring, but a journal of my reading life? Awesome!
- Sometimes, when I really love a book, I hug it. (Is that weird?)
- Books I’ve hugged over the last few years:
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- White Teeth by Zadie Smith
- I love pairing a good friend with a good book. Need any recommendations, or have one to share? Let me know in the comments!