reading meme

I'm becoming a meme machine. A blogger friend once told me about the nature of dog photos she posted on her blog, that when things were really busy or she couldn't talk about something going on in her life, she'd post a photo of her dog. I feel like the memes on my blog are my version of the dog photo.

So yet again, another meme, this one about reading.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

I blame my parents and by blame, I mean, gratefully acknowledge. My parents are voracious readers. I have this image of my father as a boy, reading books in hiding when he could find spare moments like when he was supposed to be bathing or mowing the lawn. This romantic version of him somehow matches the man who used to send my poems from the New Yorker and who reads Michael Connelly and Pat Conroy and biographies of famous generals. If you want to connect with my father, talk to him about books and writing. He is in love with the printed word. My mother will read almost anything and it is her voice I hear reading folktales and books about the moon before I learned to read on my own. I don't specifically know what turned me into a reader, except that I loved imagining other worlds, other girls and boys solving mysteries and creating magic and finding adventure and friendship in unexpected places. I have written before about books that changed my life as a girl, ones like Treasure Island, Sounder and Grimm's Fairy Tales. My love of reading seemed in place from the moment I learned how to sound out words. I have parents to thank for encouraging it and turning me into a true bibliophile.

What are some of the books you read as a child?

I read everything I could get my hands on. Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children and the Choose Your Own Adventure books were some of my favorites. Of course, I read Sweet Valley High alongside Treasure Island and Little Woman. As a teen, I consumed V.C. Andrews, Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan as I read Great Expectations and Romeo and Juliet in school.

What is your favorite genre?

For the past few years, it's been non-fiction. I love all kind of non-fiction, but I've always been especially fond of memoir. There's something about stories that have all the skill and landscape and scope of fiction but that resonate because they're true. But I also appreciate the courage and hope that pour out of the author into the story as well as the humor of fragility of storytelling as a mode of communication. I like non-fiction essayists like Sarah Vowell and Sloane Crosley. I love Joan Didion and Anne Lamont, Annie Dillard, David Sedaris; I think they're brilliant essayists, commentators on life. They say the things we cannot say, don't know how to say.

Do you have a favorite novel?

I have to choose just one? My usual answer for this is Kate Chopin's The Awakening or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and I've written about the importance of The Awakening when I was wrote a few blog posts about books that changed my life. I'd planned to write a Ph.D. edition but never did. And if I did Frankenstein would have to be on that list. However, there may be a difference between those kind of soul moving, life changing books and ones that are your favorites. So, my most recent favorite would be Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which I've talked about before and am recommending in our department's yearly summer reading list.

Where do you usually read?

In bed or on the couch. I listen to audiobooks a lot, too so sometimes I "read" in the car. I also read at my desk, student paper, magazines, blogs, all kinds of things.

When do you usually read?

Reading is a huge part of my job. So I read all the time. I read in the car while waiting for M to get off work and at night before I go to sleep. I read at lunch and any other time I can.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Oh yeah! I usually read one fiction and one non-fiction book or one fiction and one research-type book at a time.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Not consciously.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

I do all of the above but mostly, I buy them either in print or on the iPad. I check a lot of non-fiction out of the library, though.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

I do keep an awful lot of them, which is why I have the problem I do with boxes of books piled in my closet. I also donate a lot of books to the library.

What are you reading now?

I just finished The Hunger Games and now I'm reading Lauren Oliver's Delirium. I'm all about the YA dystopia lately.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

Totally. I keep a digital one on Goodreads and a stack of books on the bookshelf.

What’s next?

Tim Gatreaux's The Missing and Pat Conroy's South of Broad

What books would you like to reread?

I usually re-read The Sun Also Rises every year. I'd also like to reread Jane Eyre before I watch the new film.

Who are your favorite authors?

Sarah Waters, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, Ian McEwan, Alice Hoffman

What about you? What are your reading habits?