I always loved reading as a kid, but I dreaded the summer reading assignments. Somehow it always made reading feel like homework instead of fun. It wasn’t until the year that a teacher introduced “free reading” time into the classroom that reading started to be fun all the time. As I’ve gotten older school (an English major) and then work (reading endless piles of scripts) devoured most of my “free reading” time. Until I discovered audiobooks as a companion to knitting and commuting, I was largely without fiction, a sad way to be.
Thank goodness I’ve rediscovered the joy of the local library! It’s given me fodder for my reply to Mick’s meme:
1. What book are you currently reading?
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. See below, but this is an open-anywhere-and-start-reading staple. I had a fat stack of audiobooks that I finished just a few days ago.
Among them: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME (wonderful), THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (so-so), and LOOKING FOR ALASKA (which was a fun teenage kind of read and took me back to my boarding-school days.)
2. When you think of a good story, what are the first three books that come to mind?
I like the sprawling epic, and one of my tests for favorite books are ones that I can pull off the shelf, open to anywhere, and just get immediately pulled in. These include GONE WITH THE WIND, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LITTLE WOMEN, and POSSESSION.
“Good story” is a hard question though, because I find that story is often not completely connected to good writing and that good writing can breathe life into a story that is relatively simple. A great example: THE CORRECTIONS. The story is sort of all over the place, even though it tracks a single family in great detail it roams across time and geography, but the writing is so vibrant and just kick-in-the-gut powerful that I’ve officially declared THE CORRECTIONS one of my all-time favorite books.
When I think of a good story, the first thing that comes to mind is Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery. Bottom line, that story scared me to death as a kid and I try not to think about it too much! I also think ROMEO & JULIET is a classic story, but I’m a Shakespeare junkie.
3. What 3 books would you recommend for summer beach reading?
Only three?!? For beach reading, its got to be a story that’s all about the story and it has to have a happy ending. I like the young-woman-coming-of-age kinds of stories — I think EMMA is my prototype here. I liked PREP and SAMMY’S HILL and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. That’s the kind of stuff I like for vacation reading — something light and happy that you can dive into and then just let drift out of your mind.
4. Any knitting books you care to share?
I’m slowly discovering the Barbara Walker Treasuries and they are AWESOME. I don’t think I’ll ever be a designer, but I love the huge variety of patterns!