In a trying-to-promote-my-new-book blog tour interview today, I was asked the question, "What do you like to read?"
The answer is, books, obviously. All types, all sizes. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on.
I mean, do we have to ask?
The more relevant question for me would be, "How do you like to read?" The answer to that is far more telling. I like to read constantly, uninterruptedly, in a quiet place, away from disturbance, with no other, competing responsibilities and preferably with no children around. I like to immerse myself in the main characters, to feel their feelings and experience their surroundings. I like to breathe the mood of the book for a few days, ponder its meaning in my deeper soul and then start conversations about it for several weeks after.
The fact that almost none of these are possible means that I don't read that much. And when I do, I want the book to be worth the sacrifice of time, energy and emotion I give to it. It's got to be good, or I give it away.
My daughter and her friend talked me into picking up John Green's The Fault in Our Stars which turned out to be so compulsively beautiful and addictive that I spent approximately 36 hours melancholy and mostly in the fetal position in my bed obsessively poring through its pages. Did my mood come first, or did the book create it? I'm sure there was an energetic synergy going on. All I knew was that I, or somebody close to me, was about to die of cancer and I felt as sad as I could be. (Yes, I take on the characters' lives as my own.) Brilliant, clever and so well written. I loved it.
Another friend dropped Hannah Kent's Burial Rites in to me and said, "You Must." She was right. It's the story of the last woman executed in Iceland in the 1800s. It's evocative, personal and beautifully composed. Plus I felt cold as I read it. (Yes, Iceland is cold, and she captured it amazingly.) Publishers agreed with me, apparently. Kent received a seven figure advance when she submitted it. (I could say 'lucky her', but then, I haven't written a book as good as hers...)
Finally, I read indie author Jessica L Brooks' If I Speak True which is a YA fantasy. Although other worlds and travelling between time zones isn't usually my cup of tea, I was kept interested by the character of Dahlia, intrigued by the question of what was actually going on in her dreams, and amused by the dialogue and wry observational first person voice that Brooks does so well. If you're into young adult magical realism, this is definitely worth a go.