By the Book

by kmdbookworm

The New York Times has a new little series I absolutely love. It’s called “By the Book.” For the series, a reporter interviews authors about their favorite tomes, reading habits and genre quirks.

I couldn’t find a link to all the articles in the series, but here’s the most recent one they published: an interview with Kristin Cashore, who writes teen fantasy novels.

So I took a few of the questions asked and gave my answers (excluding ones about writing, since I am not an author.) Feel free to answer these questions as they apply to you in the comments!

What book is on your night stand now?

I have two, “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo (only 300 pages left!) and “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

When and where do you like to read?
Mostly in my apartment, though my attention wanders there so I like to try to get out to a local coffee shop or even quiet park. I love reading outside but it has been hard this summer with the temps near 100 degrees every day.

What was the last truly great book you read? Do you remember the last time you said to someone, “You absolutely must read this book”?

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I suggest this book to pretty much everyone. It tells the story of a young girl in Germany during WWII and her love of reading. Best part? A sympathetic Death is the narrator.

What’s your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?

I love teen lit and teen fantasy. To me, it doesn’t matter how old (or young) you are — you should read whatever makes you happy and ignore the suggested age ranges.

What’s the best book you ever read for a school assignment?

I’d have to say “To Kill A Mockingbird” since it is my favorite book. I read it for school in 8th grade and just really enjoyed it: the characters, writing style, plot. Everything. But I must say I also really loved “Grapes of Wrath,” which I read senior year of high school. For an assignment I wrote an ending intercalary chapter that I was really proud of — sadly I don’t think I have a copy of it anymore.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

I think I would have him read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Cohelo. It was just a really interesting book and makes you think deeply about fate, faith and love.

What are your reading habits? Paper or electronic? Do you take notes? Do you snack while you read?

I have a Nook, but I still much prefer ink-and-paper books. I don’t take notes but I flag pages with quotes I really like. Then I go back, write the page number in my book journal and type up the quotes into a Word document. I’m big on quotes. I sometimes snack when I read, and nine times out of 10 I’ll have a cup of coffee in my hand.

What were your favorite books as a child? Author?

I loved, loved, loved Ann Rinaldi. She took young girls, placed them in the past and made up a story surrounding them based on events in history. For example, a tale about Paul Revere’s daughter, or one of my favorites — the tale of Phyllis Wheatley as a young girl. My parents thought the books seemed kind of ridiculous as I remember, but I just really enjoyed them and probably own close to a dozen of her books.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Most recent books that win the Pulitzer or another major literary prize, sadly. “A Visit From the Goon Squad”? Meh. “Freedom”? Meh. I know, it’s horrible. And “All the Kings Men,” I want to love it and just can’t seem to get into it!

Are you a fast reader? Do you remember books long after you’ve read them?

Took this one straight from Cashore’s response “Relatively fast, I suppose. I remember how books made me feel long after I read them, but tend to forget the plots.”

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Harper Lee. Hands down. Maybe Steinbeck too though…

What do you plan to read next?

“The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach. Baseball and literature? I’m sold on it already.

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