I wrote about Not the Average Mama last month–Jessica’s blog is a must read, whether you’re a step or not. This week, Not the Average Mama is participating in a book tag via A Kinder Way. and I thought I’d join the fun. Consider yourself tagged and share the love!
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a digital reader’s copy titled A Hundred Thousand Worlds by by Bob Proehl, published just this week. It’s a romp through a Comic Con-like world, and it’s been fun to lose myself in a world that I know nothing about.
What’s the next one on your list?
I’m torn–do I start another DRC for review or catch up on some hard copies I have on my shelf? I’ll probably start Eric Fair’s Consequence. I heard him on NPR this spring and his story is compelling.
Do you prefer a Real Book or a Reader?
It depends. Advanced reader copies are usually digital, so my Kindle has quite a queue. And then, of course, Amazon tempts me with Kindle deals. But a trade paperback book would probably always be my first choice–I’m just running out of places to put them.
Do you stop mid book if you don’t like it?
I used to never quit on a book. Now, I if get through about a quarter of the book and I’m not drawn to continue, I don’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Do you have to finish a chapter before setting the book down?
What’s the best series you’ve read?
I’m not really a series reader–though I read the Harry Potter series, of course. Even as a young reader, I didn’t go for the Nancy Drews that all my other friends were hooked on. I must admit, though, that I have a current obsession with Flavia De Luce mysteries.
What’s the first book you remember loving?
The Box Car Children–the first one. My second grade teacher Mrs. Zimmerman read it to us one chapter each afterno0n (unless we begged for one more and she gave in) and it was the first “chapter book” I had ever heard read aloud. I read it again myself a couple times as a child, and then to my own children twenty-some years later. I loved the chipped china cups Jessie found, and I can almost taste the potatoes she roasted in the fire. I’m still infatuated.
Ever been in a book club?
A few of my teaching colleagues and I had a book club for a couple years. I loved it because we talked about something other than school, and I got to see a different side of my co-workers. It kind of fizzled out, in part because of our busy lives, but I wonder. I think sometimes people start reading because it’s a good thing to do–kind of like taking vitamins–and that rubs off onto book clubs. I’m more of a I-must-talk-about-books-like-I-must-breathe type of gal.
Favorite book you read in school?
Now that I teach literature, it’s hard for me to remember what I loved as a student and what I love as a teacher! I didn’t like Fahrenheit 451 as a student, but I love teaching it. Same thing with Lord of the Flies. I think my favorite from high school is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Or maybe Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Or maybe …
Least favorite book you actually stuck with?
Recently, I’d have to say it was The Goldfinch. That book got so much press and I found nothing really redeeming about the main character. Same thing with Jonathon Franzen’s novels. I want to like them so that I, too, can be an oh-so-cool modern reader, but I find myself becoming frustrated by characters’ lack of moral insight. I’ll read a book with characters who are evil, but they’ve got to have some sort of realization, if not transformation. It’s the human story, after all.
What is the best book gift you’ve received?
When my husband and I were dating, I coveted a coffee table book about Ethiopia titled African Ark. It was extraordinarily expensive in those 1990 prices: $75. He surprised me with a copy for Christmas (or my birthday?)–I knew it was an over-the-top gift for his bookstore staff/college student budget, but he always spoiled me.
What author would you like to have a cup of coffee with?
Ray Bradbury was such an incredibly vibrant man, so engaged with life and the creative process. I’d like to start an I’d Like To Be Like Ray campaign; he’s such an example of how aging can be a time a generative period of life. Here’s a video I show my students each year–what’s not to like about a man who wants to get his cat in the shot?!
If you could visit a place in any book, where would it be?
Kenya, for sure. I read Izak Dinesan, Beryl Markham, and Elsbeth Huxley and wanted to live in their world more than any other. Of course I realize that colonial Kenya was an oppressive place for the indigenous peoples and the wildlife. I don’t condone colonialism in any way–but those authors wrote about the land, lifestyle, and people in such a Romantic way, I was hooked. Still am.
What character from a book would you love to meet?
Interestingly, I find myself drawn to characters from the classics more than contemporary titles. (Except, maybe, for that little Flavia I mentioned earlier!) So it would be a toss up between Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennett.
What is your favorite children’s book(s)?
I have so many, and most are favorites because I connect them to my own children–and since they now have children of their own, that means some of these titles are a bit dated. I hated the Berenstein Bears series (but my daughter loved them!). The kids also loved the Ruth Stiles Gannet’s Dragon books: My Father’s Dragon and Dragons of Blueland (Me, not so much.)
These are keepers:
Nicholas Bentley Stoningpot III
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
Blueberries for Sal (when we go blueberry picking I still say, “Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk”! and drive people crazy.)
any Tomie dePaola book
any Patricia Polacco book