Which books are you reading right now?
–Wild Designs, by Katie Fforde
–French Lessons, by Peter Mayle
–Spin Cycle, by Sue Margolis
When is your favourite time to read?
-Any time. Especially first thing in the morning, before I've even showered, or right before bed. When I'm home alone, reading takes place whenever there's a meal. When my mother visits, or I'm visiting her, breakfast time involves all of us at the table, each with our coffee and book.
Where is your favourite place to read?
-I do a lot of reading in the bathroom, because, if I have to sit there I might was well keep my mind occupied, and because it's the place where I'm least likely to be disturbed. I could spend an entire day at the table with a stack of books, and endless pots of tea, with oranges as nourishment, or curled up in bed, with the dogs for company.
What is the first book you remember reading?
-The first book I remember having read to me is Winnie The Pooh. The first book I remember reading is either Fletcher and Zenobia, In the Night Kitchen, or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
What is your favourite quotation?
-Aaack! Evil question! My favorite quotations change almost daily.
“Mom says some days are like that…even in Australia.” — Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
“If you mean libel, I'd say so, and not talk about labels as if papa was a pickle-bottle.” — Jo March, in the opening scene of Little Women
“Friends help you move; real friends help you move bodies.” –Anita Blake, but in which novel I don't remember.
Who is your favourite novelist?
-When I find an author I like, I tend to read everything they've ever written, and then forget about them for a while, but perennial favorites include Louisa May Alcott, Laurell K. Hamilton, Lilian Jackson Braun, Sara Paretsky, Katherine Neville, Orson Scott Card, and Dick Francis. (I actually read way more mysteries than I do fantasy.) I've also found that I enjoy Madeleine L'Engle's adult fiction as much as I ever loved A Wrinkle in Time. Also, and these might surprise some people: E. M. Forester, Allan Drury, Stephen King (can we say guilty pleasure?) and Tom Clancy. And I'm a total fan of Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe.
Which school text did you most enjoy?
-I have a special fondness for that little green book, Warriner's Guide to English Grammar and Usage, because my writing professor in college was Warriner's daughter. But, really, I never had teachers that used textbooks, except in math and chemistry, and those don't count. If assigned reading counts, then my senior year AP English unit on The Importance of Being Earnest wins, absolutely. (Imagine an AP English class at a performing arts school reading this play – doing all the accents, and nibbling on cucumber sandwiches the whole time….)
What is the most difficult book you have ever read?
-The first time I read Pride and Prejudice I just couldn't get into it, but when I went back and picked it up a year or two later, it was fine, and I began my lingering love affair with Jane Austen. I still have difficulty reading any James Joyce. His stream-of-consciousness style is so much like the way I think just before sleep, that I simply cannot stay awake to do him justice.
What is the most erotic book you have read?
-In terms of explicit erotica, probably the Sleeping Beauty series.
What is your funniest book?
-I've been reading so many “BritCom” novels lately, that I don't think I could pick. A decade ago, I'd have said “Anything by Douglas Adams,” but his work got so overexposed…. If you know Jane Eyre well enough to appreciate the parody, then The Eyre Affaire is hysterical.
And the saddest?
-Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks Journals aren't particularly sad over all, but one volume in particular, The Summer of the Great-grandmother is really very poignant.
What is your favourite children's book?
–Fletcher and Zenobia is my favorite for the artwork – how can anyone compare with Edward Gorey? A.A. Milne's books are special to me because I received one for every Christmas and birthday, and I knew when I turned six I'd be getting Now We Are Six. I loved Where the Wild Things Are and I had two amazingly comprehensive collections of fairy tales (not picture books) that I've misplaced in one of my many moves, and miss a lot. Oh, and The Story of Hiawatha took on special significance when I moved to SoDak and lived in Minnehaha county.
What is your most overrated book?
-I hate to say it, but Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald just never lives up to its reputation.
Name your most underrated book.
-The person I stole this survey from listed The Eight, by Katherine Neville, and I have to agree. It's kind of a sleeper, but it's a great read, and comes across as being totally plausible. It's sort of a ghost-mystery-science fiction-historical-romantic comedy-epic. My other choice is a children's book: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiller, by E. L. Konigsburg, about two kids who run away from home and hide in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Who is your favourite character?
-Again, this changes as my moods and tastes change. Among them: Anne Shirley, Jo March, Claudia Kincaid, Harriet M. Welsch, Cat Velis, and Cleo Spearfield.
Which characters do you hate most?
-Pretty much any ever created by V.C. Andrews.
With which character do you most identify?
-Harriet, Jo, Anne, and Cat – but only specific aspects of each.
With which character would you most like to have an affair?
-Solarin. Or…Solarin. And then there's Sol – oh, um – Seriously, I don't think about stuff like that.
Who would be your ideal literary dining companions?
-I could never make such a decision, and the people I'd pick would cause utter pandemonium. Dorothy Parker, Kathleen Norris, Natalie Goldberg, Katherine Neville.
What is the worst screen adaptation?
-The things Disney has done to Pooh are just scary.
Name three desert island choices?
–The Eight, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and The Chronicles of Narnia which I count as one book because they're a boxed set.
What is your favourite poem?
-Oh, tons. Sappho had a lot of very cool stuff to say, and Poe is amazing. From childhood, I still have affection for Robert Lewis Stevenson and Shel Silverstein.
Which book changed your life?
–Writing Down the Bones, and Dakota: a Spiritual Geography, and probably The Mists of Avalon as well.
Which book would you make compulsory reading?
-I'm sort of a throwback in that I still think everyone should be familiar with a wide selection of the classics. I'm not saying to go read Moby Dick and make it your passion, but, there are certain novels that most well-educated well-read people should be familiar with. From a compulsory standpoint, though, I'll take a leaf from a teacher who influenced me a lot, and say, The Compleat Angler.