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What is the favorite book you remember as a child?
My absolute favorite book was Horton Hatches the Egg. It’s got everything: drama, challenge, betrayal, commitment and unconditional love. And it all rhymes. I began reading that book to my daughter as soon as she was born so its message of love would always be close to her heart.
What is your favorite book today?
My favorite is usually the one I’m reading at the moment.
Tell us about your current book in 10 words.
Music, boys, first love, middle-school drama, The Bahamas, determination.
What are you reading right now?
Right now it’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. It’s an anthropological romp for a general audience. He’s got a very interesting take on how human culture developed. My Bachelor’s degree was in anthropology and the way we humans organize our worlds, how we’ve evolved belief systems, has always fascinated me. I believe that at least one cultural anthropology course should be mandatory for high school seniors and college students. It would give them a much better insight into the forces that shape our decisions and choices, and it encourages thinking outside of the cultural context you’ve been raised in it. One of Harari’s rather engaging theories is that humans didn’t domesticate wheat. Wheat domesticated us! Wheat got us to plant it, love it, and settle down in towns to cultivate it. Wheat got us to do what it wanted. It’s like wheat said, “Hey, you want a good supply? Better take care of me!”
What books do you have on hold at the library?
Sorry, I don’t have any. When I was a young girl I knew I wanted to have my own library when I grew up. We had books at home, but never enough for me. I would read everywhere, including as I walked across the street. My mom was always telling me to, “Put that book down and watch where you’re going!” I did all my college research at the main branch of the New York Public Library in midtown. The lions that greeted me as I ascended the steps, the dark wood tables, the lights, the cards I filled out and gave the librarians to search the stacks for my research materials was romantic to me. It was a world of intellect and imagination that as a young student I could enter at any time, or at least during library hours. After college, and once I got my first apartment, I began buying books. They were the only thing I was interested in “acquiring,” though I didn’t think of them as possessions; they were companions. As my personal library grew my library visits went down.
Do you have any bad book habits?
When I ran out of room in my bookcases at my home office, I began stacking books in front of other books and then on top of each other. It was not the most elegant of organizational methods, but the books were all in their proper sections, and I had a mental map of where they all were. One day I noticed that my office looked neater. “What did you do?” I asked our housekeeper, who loved interior design. “It looks different.” “Oh, she said proudly. “I reorganized all your books by size and color. It looks much better now.” She was right. It did. But of course, I couldn’t find a thing! It took me quite a while to reorganize them.
E-Reader or print? and why?
I read both. I resisted e-books at first. I thought I’d miss the “feel” of the book. But once I got started, it felt totally natural.
One book at a time or multiples?
That varies. If I get into a novel I love, I cannot put it down. I feel like I’m on a vacation, immersed in another world. Even if I know I should be doing something else, I don’t stop reading it. But I will often read several non-fiction books at the same time.
Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)
I love little yellow Post-its. They help me find a spot I want to remember. I rarely bend a page in a book.
Least favorite book you've read this year?
Sorry, I don’t have a least favorite. And I’d never talk ill of a book.
Favorite book you've read this year?
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.
When do you do most of your reading?
I’ll read anytime and everywhere; on buses, trains, airplanes, on my deck, in bed, at the computer. But I no longer read while I’m crossing the street.
Favorite place to read?
In a comfortable chair, under an umbrella, on my deck that faces the ocean.
Literary Fiction. Do you loan your books?
I do, but since they are rarely returned, I now think of the loans as gifts.
People would forget, they’d promise to get the book back to me, but that almost never happened. So if I loan a book, it’s with the idea that I’ll be shocked if I get it back.
Favorite book to recommend?
Anything Michael Chabon writes.
How do you keep your books organized?
I organize by category: novels, plays, anthropology, religion, science, etc. I know where the sections are, but I’ve never organized by title or author. I kind of know pretty much where a book is and if I have to move a few books to find one behind them, that’s okay. When my housekeeper rearranged them to look better, it was a disaster.
Re-reader or not?
I’ll re-read sections I’ve put yellow Post-its on. But I rarely re-read a whole book.
What would make you not finish a book?
I finish most. But if it’s boring, or I think the ideas in it are unfounded, I’ll stop.
Keep books or give them away?
I once decided that the books in my bookcases were overflowing. I didn’t have room for more shelves and figured it was time to stop keeping every book and do a little pruning.
I tested my new policy by tossing out a couple of books. Within a week, a job I was doing required some research. Of course the books I’d tossed were just the ones I could have used. So I went back to keeping everything. What’s a little mess when it comes to books?
“Boyz3000 will be where?”
“AT THE HOTEL IN THE BAHAMAS WHERE I AM GOING!!!!” she screamed into my ear. “THEY’RE DOING A CONCERT!!”
“OH MY GOD!!!” I screamed back. I nearly fell off my chair. “That is so awesome!”
“I know, but wait! My parents said I could take a friend, and I want to take you!”
“Me?” I gasped. “You want to take me? To see Boyz3000 in their concert?”
“Yes, because we both love them and you’re my best friend and…”
Jenny kept talking, but I was so excited I didn’t hear anything else until she said, “We are leaving next Saturday for the weekend.”
“No! Next Saturday! The one after this weekend! My parents will pay for the hotel and all. You’ll share my room. You just need to pay for your plane ticket.”
“Uh-oh,” I said. “How much does that cost?”
“It’s on a special deal; it’s a hundred and fifty dollars.”
“Oh. That’s a lot of money. I don’t know if they’ll pay that.”
“I know it’s a lot, but they have to.”
“But what if they don’t?”
Jenny thought for a minute. “Tell them you’ll die if you don’t go.”
“That kind of thing doesn’t work with my parents.”
“Well, think of something! ANYTHING!!!” she shrieked. “My dad is trying to get us backstage passes for the Meet and Greet!!!”
“WHAT?” I gasped. “THE MEET AND GREET???”
“Yes!!!” Jenny squealed. “We’ll be able to meet them IN PERSON, and probably talk to them too because my dad works in TV and…”
She was still talking but I didn’t hear anything else. Oh my God!!! Oh my God!!! My heart totally stopped beating at that very moment…
Taro Meyer is a Grammy, Parents’ Choice, and Audie Award winning Audio Producer who has been producing and directing YA audiobooks for over 20 years, including The Princess Diaries Series starring Anne Hathaway, the All American Girl Series starring Ari Meyers, The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisngr) and Judy Blume’s The Pain and the Great One, Here’s to You Rachel Robinson and Tiger Eyes among others.
She co-produced two touring companies of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's smash rock show Christmas Eve and Other Stories and their TV special The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, receiving Gold and Platinum Albums for her work with the team. She was associate producer of the award winning anti-bullying movie, “The Contest,” and co-produced the premier showcase of off-Broadway’s Little Willie.
As an actress and singer, she starred on Broadway in the musical Zorba, in numerous regional and off-Broadway shows, and on TV’s All My Children, Another World (for which she also composed music) and the mini-series Memories of Midnight, amongst others.
Meyer wrote and produced the upcoming children’s album: Mighty Musical Fairy Tales, starring international artist Patti Austin; an updated, joyous musical version of Classic Fairy tales, accompanied by an illustrated book, The Ugly Duckling.
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