Why do you read? What does reading provide for you?
I read to experience the beauty of the written word. Or to escape into a fantasy someone else has taken the time to create. Or because I am not skilled enough to bake a triple-layer fudge cake without intricate direction.
Describe the ideal environment for you to read in. Does it change?
Curled up on a couch under the warm glow of a not-too-bright bulb; under a shady tree in the warm sun; snuggled under the covers and hidden from view, flashlight in hand (that’s more of a memory these days). So… yes, definitely.
What got you into reading in the first place?
In Grade One we were required to read every day for homework. I also remember going to the library with my mom and brother and we were both allowed to pick out four books. I was always done reading mine the same day.
Is it exciting for you when your favorite books become movies? Why? Do you generally not like the movie adaptations? Why?
Yes and no. I definitely want to know what sort of spin Hollywood has put on things, but I expect to be disappointed. I generally avoid movie adaptations; I like to see one or read the other. I prefer not to do both—I don’t like to see my vision corrupted.
Would you say you read less books than you did when you were younger? Why?
Yes. Life gets in the way. I have also realized that there are actually different reading levels. When I was reading books geared to 14- and 15-year-olds (as I was at that time) I was speeding along. Reading adult novels takes a little longer (and boy was I able to whip through Harry Potter and Twilight as an “old” person).
When do you feel the need to read? Is there something that makes you go, “I need to read, NOW”?
If there’s a book that truly captures my interest, then I get the need to read. In general, I read when I’m riding the subway (I can’t do it on buses—motion sickness). When there’s free time and nothing else to slot in there, I will read. I find television is competition for books in my life: it’s story telling with no effort required.
What’s it like to discover a new book to read?
Exciting. Ecstatic. Surprising. My personal collection is mostly cookbooks—small obsession there. I’ve become jaded by prose. Truly fabulous books are few and far between. Much of that thinking is my own fault for not reading more and discovering the gems, but there is a lot of chaff. Most of the truly good books I’ve read have been assigned in literature classes (“Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie, “Green Grass, Runnning Water” by Thomas King, and “In the Skin of a Lion” by Michael Ondaatje). I did discover “The Horse Boy” by Rupert Isaacson—absolutely beautifully written. And, interestingly enough, there was a team of documentary filmmakers recording his family’s journey, so you can see the film version too (I expect in this case they’ll be pretty similar). But the prose is so beautiful. And he’s not afraid to use parentheses (see—totally ecstatic!).
What genre do you like reading? Any specific reason?
Genre? Fantasy. Knights and horses and fairy tales—all that jazz. Reasons? I love fairy tales. And I let these slide a little when it comes to how well they’re written. Obviously, I prefer perfection, but I LOVE to see a new take on an old yarn. If an author can re-write Cinderella and keep me engaged, I love it. I could read that fairy tale a hundred different ways.
What is “the culture of books” to you?
The culture of books? It’s changed over the years—it’s bounced between being exclusive and inclusive. Books are something that people talk about; people may pass on the knowledge within, pass on the book itself, or warn people against what’s written on the pages. Books are a method of escapism that engages the imagination. They are also a font of knowledge. They contain everything, but without the ability to read they are nothing. Maybe that’s what’s drawn me to the literary world. Books sit at both ends of the spectrum. There is no middle ground. And for some reason, that suits me.