Welcome to The Library. Tell us about your current book in 10 words.
A questionable endeavor that my two children talked me into.
LOL.... that is definitely an interesting way to look at it. What are you reading right now?
Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things. It’s a beautiful book, both in prose and in physical design, although it took me a little while to get caught up in the story. It’s made me ponder what I think of as the “old style” of narrative, and the “new style”. The main difference is one of pace – books written in the “new” style are like a river swollen with spring runoff: they pull you under and sweep you along, breathless and off-balance the whole way, so that it’s almost impossible to put the story down. There are no natural resting points, so to speak. Series like The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments come to mind as examples, and while they’re diverting and well-written, I find myself coming away from them vaguely unsatisfied. The character development often lacks depth, in my admittedly unschooled opinion.
Liz Gilbert’s latest novel follows the “older style” of pacing, which is like leisurely floating on a raft down a river on a balmy summer afternoon. Sure, you may choose to dip a toe into the water. You may even decide to jump right in, but the pace will never be such that you can’t clamber back out. There’s time to explore the plants at the water’s edge, catch guppies, maybe have a picnic lunch. Robin Hobb’s popular fantasy books come to mind as a prime example of this. The main character travels from the boonies to the city, and no calamity befalls him! He stops for lunch, and all he does is eat! By the end of one of the author’s series, you know her characters extremely well.
I’m not espousing one style over another; it’s just that reading The Signature of All Things immediately after finishing The Mortal Instruments brought those differences into sharper relief for me. It’s made me more aware of the kind of pace I’d like my own stories to have, which is somewhere between the two.
E-Reader or print? and why?
I’ve never understood why some people are so sharply divided on this question. Is it really an either/or proposition? Each has their own unique advantages and allure. I think of them as complementary mediums: when I’m comfortably ensconced at home with a steaming cup of tea, then there’s nothing better than the smell and feel of an actual, physical book in my hands. With my children, ages seven and nine, I read almost exclusively print books, partly because we can get the full effect of the illustrations that way.
But then what if (as I’ve heard some people actually do) you go on vacation, and you can’t bring fifteen pounds of books on the plane with you? What if you commute to work on public transit every day? I know people who read on their phones every day. In the end, it’s the story that matters, not the method of transmission.br>
*Disclaimer: I read ebooks on my laptop and my daughter’s iPad, but I don’t actually own an ereader. I covet the Kindle…
Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)
Bookmark now, definitely, but as a child I considered dog-ears and creases along the spine to be the sign of a book that’s been much appreciated.
Least favorite book you've read this year?
As an author, you know how much work goes into writing a book. You spend hours agonizing over comma placement and psychoanalyzing your characters. It’s hard to criticize someone else’s work when you know how much of yourself goes into a book.
That being said, I’ll have to nominate The Bronze Horseman as my least favorite in a while. It’s a historical romance that came highly recommended, and I know it has some ardent fans, but I could hardly finish it. I thought the main character had multiple personality disorder – and she wasn’t intended to.
Favorite book you've read this year?
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. I was impatiently waiting for this book, the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story is epic in the truest sense of the word, by turns haunting and evocative, sarcastic and funny. I love Laini Taylor’s somewhat offbeat style.
Do you loan your books?
Absolutely! Especially when I’m really excited about a great book I’ve just read and can’t wait to share it with my friends.
Re-reader or not?
Avid re-reader. Sometimes I’m just too tired to go to the library or start something new, and re-reading an old favorite is like visiting with old friends. It’s comfortable. And I find that if a book is well-written, I discover new things and make new connections by revisiting it. On the other hand, there are times when I find hitherto unnoticed holes in the story while re-reading.
What would make you not finish a book?
When I was younger, nothing. No matter how dreadful the story, I would plod stolidly along until I’d finished the thing. But now that I’m a single parent with limited time my standards have changed. I always give a book a couple of chapters, but if I’m not enjoying it by then, I put it aside. Reading is supposed to be fun!
Keep books or give them away?
If I kept all the books I’ve ever read, I’d be considered a hoarder in need of professional help. I keep my favorites, and the ones I’m hoping my children will enjoy in future, but the rest I set free so they can bring joy to others.
Some fires can consume you.
Last year, I had it all. Two jumpers on the show circuit, a lot of wins, and a lot of attention - the good kind. But now I have nothing. My life is circling the drain. The only spark of light that exists for me is my new, forbidden passion. If my stepfather finds out, he will kill me. My twin brother, my only blood relative in the world, has already begged me not to. But I can't help myself. If it can't be horses, it has to be this...
Buy the book at Amazon. Also available on Kobo, NOOK, and iBooks.