What’s the best book you’ve picked up as a result of a CBR recommendation/review?
The September Book Club recommendations have been great so far – my favorite has been All Boys Aren’t Blue. Most recently I added The Journalist and the Murderer to my TBR, and it’s nearly at the top so I am looking forward to reading that soon! I am also currently listening to How to Be Perfect on audiobook in the car and really loving that (I also really loved The Good Place). My TBR stack has just grown out of control, so often by the time I pick up a book and read it I can no longer remember where I first read about it. However, many times, when I’ve finished a book I have really enjoyed going back and finding reviews AFTER I’ve read it, to see what others thought (notable examples: The Maid, Maus, French Braid). I cannot remember if I first read some of the wonderful reviews of Becky Chambers on Cannonball (I am almost positive that’s where I found Chambers) but I truly enjoyed reading all of the reviews of Chambers’ novels after I read and posted my own reviews this year.
You participate in CBR Book Bingo and the book clubs, listen to book podcasts, and support your local library. Have you always been a reader, or did some marvelous book set off that spark for you?
I have pretty much always been a reader. The story goes that I had a Sesame Street dictionary as more or less a security blanket when I was 3 – I can’t remember a time when the world of books didn’t interest me. I was the kid who always had her nose in a book. I loved re-reading books when I was younger – every summer it was important that I reread Little Women, and my limited collection of The Baby-Sitters Club books. I saw myself as a reader at a very early age, and that remained throughout my life. But I would say my reading life has definitely changed in many ways over time, and in the past few years I feel that I’ve devoted more of my time to reading again, plus started tracking what I read. Tracking my reading helped me to be more intentional about seeking out more diverse books, and many different types of reading communities, which I feel is like generating another huge spark for continuing to grow as a reader. I feel lucky to have discovered Cannonball and the many different readers here!
Your reviews seem to cover a little bit of everything. Do you have a favorite genre?
I definitely lean more towards fiction, particularly literary fiction. There’s a lot of ways to tell stories, and I enjoy almost all of them. I love a good mystery or thriller, but I get disappointed easily in them if they’re not well written. If the premise is about bringing a bunch of seemingly disconnected people to a gathering in order to reveal their relationships to one another (and solve a mystery) I’ll probably read it! I love sweeping family sagas, stories that cross generations (The Old Drift is a great example of this). I love interesting characters. I enjoy a good plot, but honestly I think I’m probably more invested in characters than plot most of the time. I think it’s important to keep changing it up – I don’t like to read the same type of stories by the same type of people over and over. There’s something really joyful about reading widely, discovering something new and completely different.
Who is an author you would buy anything they write: no reading the blurb, no recommendation, hardback prices…you have to have it as it hits the shelves?
This is tricky! There are actually a lot of writers I love and would pick up a book based only on the author – Tana French is someone that writes the exact type of crime novel that I want to read, I’d happily pick up anything she writes. Even though I don’t always love everything they write, Akwake Emezi is fascinating and news of their new books always interest me. I think I’m making my love of Becky Chambers pretty well known, I can’t wait until I get the email that tells me my second Monk and Robot book is ready at the library. I love Emily St. John Mandel and when I hear she has something new coming out it always immediately goes on my library queue.
What’s your favorite place to order takeout from? (Or favorite food genre, if you will!)
Takeout food is very situation-dependent for me. Most of my takeout orders are from sandwich places like Panera, because I’ve forgotten my lunch at school. That’s generally fine, but if I had to choose (and money was no object) I’d probably get Indian food way more often. There’s a local Afghani restaurant that has the most amazing chicken biryani, I could probably eat that every day. I also really love Mexican food, but I don’t think that would count as takeout because generally it’s best eaten in the restaurant, where you can also enjoy chips, salsa, queso and margaritas.