|Young Girl Reading by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1886|
Choose one word that describes being a reader.
What’s the very first book you fell in love with?
I think it was Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird--I still have the copy my mother gave me when I was little, in which I drew a picture of a ballerina on the flyleaf.
Hardcover or paperback?
I like both hardcover and nice paperback books--the "trade" kind rather than the "mass market" kind. I love beautiful books and like to keep them looking that way, so I don't really feel the need to have paperbacks to be rough with. I used to have a fairly big collection of mass market mystery and suspense books, but to save storage space I've gradually been replacing them with Kindle editions.
How has reading shaped your identity?
I find this a difficult question to answer because I don't think of my identity as something that is shaped. My identity is my core being, and loving books and reading is a part of my identity rather than an outside force that shaped my identity, if that makes sense.
What book do you read when you need to be comforted?
A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. Technically these are two separate books, but they're on the short side and I always read them together. Re-reading them really is like returning to "that enchanted place on the top of the Forest [where] a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
Who taught you to be a reader? (Or did you do it all on your own?)
My mother taught me how to read, and she also fostered my love of reading by sharing wonderful books with me from my early childhood through the present.
Describe your dream reading lounge.
While I generally like bright and airy spaces, for reading I would prefer a cozy room painted or papered in a warm color with curtains that dimmed the light. The walls would be lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and there would be a fireplace with comfortable chairs next to it. I could get really specific about the types of rugs and upholstery fabrics I would use, but I suspect that would be boring to read about!
What book changed the way you act or see the world?
This is another tough one for me. I can't really say that any one book changed the way I act or see the world, although some books I've read have offered interesting perspectives on philosophical issues. For instance, the books in Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series always have lots of intriguing musings on an endless array of subjects.