20 Years Ago: (I was 10) I was in the 5th grade/6th grade this year, the year we started switching classrooms between periods and sharing desks with the other section of the class. It was the year I discovered Barthe DeClements and I was avidly working my way through all those books like Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade and How Do You Lose Those Ninth Grade Blues? I was sharing a desk with Danny R. from the other section, and inadvertantly left the Ninth Grade Blues in the desk. When we switched classes, he came up to me and said, "So tell me, Kate, how did you lose those ninth grade blues?!" Yeah, a real pithy guy.
10 Years Ago: (age 20) My junior year of college. I remember very distinctly I was taking my required English literature class with a Professor Preilieu (can't remember the exact spelling). Joe had her the semester before me, and recommended I take her class because she wore red cowboy boots and huge hoop earrings--completely out of sync with most of our NYC professors. She offered extra points to anyone in the class who would read Voltaire's Candide in French instead of English, and I took her up on that offer. Later, during the final exam, I used The Awakening by Kate Chopin to answer an essay question on the test, even though we had not read it in class. She was mightly impressed. I got an A for the semester.
5 Years Ago: (age 25) I went through a bit of a reading drought back then. I was living in Boston, had moved in with Michael and we had been living together for a bit, and were planning our wedding. I fell out of favor with the book, which had been heretofore one of my favorite things to enjoy. I was into television more than anything. Probably the most profound reading I did was People magazine.
Last Year: (age 29) Heavily into reading, at times I was completing 3 and 4 books a week. What stands out most notably was that it was the first time I'd been reading for a book club, and it was my book club's first year. I was in two separate book clubs at that time and really struggling to sit through the other one, as I didn't find the discussions to be particularly deep. What broke me on that one, and caused me to quit, was a particularly rotten discussion of Joanne Harris's Five Quarters of the Orange, which to this day I maintain could be a fantastic book club read, but really wasn't done justice by that group. I was also particularly cheesed at the poor reception given to my 3 book choices for that group last year, The Jane Austen Book Club (while I didn't even like it all that well, I do think it deserved more discussion than criticism); One Thousand White Women (which I loved and was gravely disappointed at its reception); and The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (a great historical novel, which I also greatly enjoyed, but apparently was the only one to do so).
This Month: (age 30) This month I've been Lit Chicks book-less, as I read the book a while ago. I am working my way through Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. Michael and I have joined a "Should Have Read It [aka SHRIT]" book club and we are reading Animal Farm, which both of us have already read, but need a refresher on. My Fredericksburg.com book club is reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and I started reading that today. Also today, Michael and I finished the final of Jan Karon's Mitford novels, A Light From Heaven. And in my spare time, I am reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Oh, and I can't forget Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish, which I read for a special session of Lit Chicks. So maybe that makes my previous statement a lie!
Booking some more
3 Favorite Reading Locations:
- Downstairs on the couch
- Upstairs in bed
- In a comfy lawn chair on the porch
3 Reading habits:
- I cannot go to sleep without reading for a little while first. I think this stems from my father's strict bed times, which were always on the early side compared to many of my classmates, but once we were in bed, we were given an extra half hour to devote strictly to reading.
- I am never reading just one book. Typically I've got 4 or 5 books going on at once. This allows me to read according to how I feel on a particular day or at a particular time.
- When I go to the store, I'm an impulse book buyer. I look for an interesting cover, check out the jacket notes or back cover, read the first page, and if it all clicks, I buy it. Doesn't matter if I have never heard of the author before. I've discovered all of my new favorite authors that way.
3 Things that distract me:
- My husband. Once he comes in, I put my books down.
- The bunnies. There are four of them and one of me. I'm outnumbered.
- The ocean. I can't read well on the beach. My mind just kind of shuts off and I go into a totally relaxed mode and can't concentrate or focus on anything other than the waves, the sounds, and the sunshine.
3 Characters I’d love to be:
- Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler of E.L. Konigsberg's From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
- Professor McGonagall from all the Harry Potter novels
- The computer guy in Litte Green Men who went renegade and caused all the problems
3 Characters I Despise:
- The deranged psychopath in James Patterson's Kiss the Girls (I'm glad I don't remember his name--that book just totally grossed me out [I sound like a teenager again!])
- That crazy boxer guy in the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich
- Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada
Favorite Book Beverages:
- Chai Creme Frappucino from Starbucks
- Otherwise, I don't really drink while I'm reading... I'm always wigged out about getting water or moisture on the pages of my books, so I tend to leave food and drink to themselves. I also get so engrossed in what I'm doing that I forget to sip if I'm reading anyway.
3 Favorite bookmarks:
- Old receipts
- Money (it makes me look affluent, right? LOL)
- My memory--I don't usually use a bookmark, I just remember what page I'm on as best I can by chanting the page number over and over in my head
3 Dead Writers I’d love to meet:
- Paula Danziger
- Jane Austen
- John Kennedy Toole
3 Alive Writers I’d love to meet:
- J.K. Rowling
- Philip Gulley
- Lemony Snicket
So…now…what about YOU?