I would like to thank my parents for my very early immersion in the wonder of books, which has helped to shape my interests and skills as an adult.
The following self-interview is adapted from Short Stories and Sustenance, whose work I’d found as the featured blogger on 20sb, which was repeatedly mentioned in early commentary on my go-to source of hilarity and insight, Hyperbole and a Half.
What am I reading right now?
I just finished re-reading Swim, the short story appended to the trade paperback edition of The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner. I think I’ve read everything that she’s published so far because her writing is smart, funny, relevant and immersive in the way that the books of my childhood had been.
Do I have any idea what I’ll read when I’m done with that?
I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the first book by Hyperbole and a Half blogger Allie Brosh but will need to find something else to fill in my time for the next six weeks.
What five books have I always wanted to read but haven’t gotten round to?
I don’t really keep a list like that. I have a few non-fiction things waiting on my Kindle but I have to be in the right mood to explore them.
What magazines do I have in my bathroom/lounge right now?
Last year’s Ikea catalogue and the movie magazine from last month’s visit to the cinema.
What’s the worst book I’ve ever read?
Many of the titles that I was forced to read in high-school English.
What book seemed really popular but I didn’t like it?
Lord of the Flies was considered popular and was generally well-written but it had one of the worst endings that I can vaguely recall. I was so mad at the characters just rolling out to the beach and being ‘saved’ by the adults. I wanted the kids to work things out for themselves. I think I threw the book across the room at that point.
What books do I frequently recommend?
For its incredibly unique voice: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon).
For time-management skills that seem so desperately needed for victims of always-on culture: Eat that frog! (Brian Tracy) and The Myth of Multi-tasking: How “Doing it All” Gets Nothing Done (Dave Creshaw).
For newbies to social media and learning Social media for trainers: techniques for enhancing and extending learning (Jane Bozarth)
For introverts and those who love us: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain)
For ideas to counter complexity: Insanely Simple (Ken Segall)
What are my three favourite poems?
I was never that crazy about others’ poetry (again with the high-school impositions) even though I dabbled in writing some myself during my teenage angst.
Where do I usually get my books?
Amazon (digital) or Chapters (print).
When I was little, did I have any particular reading habits?
Yes, I recall having a huge appetite for reading ‘anywhere’. This included reading the back of cereral boxes or any other printed item at the breakfast table and wandering down the hall into the bathroom without missing a word of whatever book had me engrossed.
What’s the last thing I stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
I get tired way too easily to do that but I often stay up an extra 15-20 minutes to finish a good chapter.
Have I ever “faked” reading a book?
As much as I was a ‘good student’ In high school, I definitely faked reading a few books, or at least faked finishing the whole thing. I hated being forced to read what someone else expected me to read just to pass some quiz or exam. As an adult, I’ve learned to put a book down and not finish it if I don’t want to (thanks, Gretchen Rubin!)
Have I ever bought a book just because I liked the cover?
Not that I can recall.
What was my favourite book when I was a child?
Ah, so many, often about some kind of adventure:
In my very early days, I loved Golden Books including The Pokey Little Puppy, Tootle the Train and Scuffy the TugBoat. A little later, I enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Tootpaste Genie by Sandy Frances Duncan, various editions of Mrs. Piggly-Wiggle and Mrs. PepperPot, and Pippy Longstocking. I was also a big fan of Judy Blume (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing), Gordon Kormon’s early work and Beverly Cleary (Ramona and Beezus, The Mouse and the Motorcycle).
What book changed my life?
Whatever was the first book I was able to read, at age two, according to my father.
What is my favourite passage from a book?
The one that helped me to find my beloved: “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Who are my favourite authors?
Fiction: Jennifer Weiner, Stuart McLean and all of the children’s authors above
Non-fiction: Brené Brown, Susan Cain, Gretchen Rubin, Ted Kerasote
For what book am I an “evangelist”?
I think everyone needs to read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain).
What are my favourite classic books?
Winnie the Pooh, Anne of Green Gables and The Little House on the Prairie series.
Five other notable mentions?
I couldn’t think of any others – feel free to note your own! 🙂