After answering all of these questions, I noticed that I almost exclusively mentioned historical fiction. I do enjoy other kinds of books, but clearly I have a favorite. Also, I just want to make sure everyone knows that I love Harry Potter, even though there wasn’t really a spot to include it in these answers.
1. Describe yourself in 3 books
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is my favorite book of all time and the one I, like so many other readers, can most see myself in. While my sister and fellow Book Club Sunday member, Molly, and I have a raging feud over which of us is Jo in our own family (it’s obviously me), that isn’t the only reason I chose this book to describe myself. It’s a story about a close knit family that focuses on the four sisters and their mom, that reminds me so much of my own close-knit family of three sisters and our mom. They certainly have their fair share of ups and downs, but are able to navigate them together, and I think I can say the same about my family.
The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, is not a book that describes me, but rather one that I wish described me. As a fictionalized version of the Kate Middleton/Prince William love story in which the Kate Middleton character is both American and a twin, it seems like it so easily really could have been me. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I am fairly certain I was supposed to be Kate Middleton and this book is the perfect fantasy of what could have (should have) been.
I have had too difficult of a time coming up with a third book to describe myself, especially because it seems that I have not actually described myself via my selections at all, and have decided it is because the third book that describes me has either not been written yet or I have not read it yet.
2. Favorite reading spot
My tiny apartment doesn’t offer much in the way of extra lounge-y space, so my sister/roommate/fellow-book-clubber and I converted the space in between our kitchen and living room (that is probably supposed to be a dining room) into a reading nook. We each have a papasan chair with a fluffy cushion and a cozy blanket and I love to curl up there with a book and a cup of tea to read.
But also there was a really great comfy chair on Book Club Sunday’s 2016 Readaway to Dillon’s Beach that was a pretty spectacular reading spot, too.
3. If you could only save one book or bookish item in a fire, what would it be?
One of my best friends gave me an autographed copy of one of my favorite books, My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger. This is a delightful book that reminds me to believe in magic. The book is inscribed “For Sarah – Purple balloons really do come back.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go re-read the book immediately now that I’m thinking about it.
4. Book character you most admire
Jo March. I don’t know if this is cheating, since I already mentioned Little Women, but it’s the only answer I could come up with. There are so many reasons I have related so deeply to Jo throughout the years, such as her need to take care of and protect her family, her tomboy nature (I wasn’t a tomboy but as a child I desperately wanted to be one, probably thanks to Jo), her restless spirit, and her fear of change. However, the thing that I admire most about her is her strength. Despite her hardships and sometimes doubt and trepidation, she is able to find the strength to hold her family together, while still going out on her own to forge her way in the world. She makes decisions that are right for her (Ugh, Laurie. Though I am due for a re-read to see if my thoughts about Mr. Bhaer have changed as a thirty-something) and goes after the things she wants with unrelenting determination.
5. Fictional book setting where you’d most like to live
Deep Valley, the home of Betsy in the Betsy-Tacy series. Deep Valley is the most charming, idealistic little town and I wish so much that life was really like it is in Deep Valley. The Betsy-Tacy books start in 1897 when the girls are 5 and grow up with them through Betsy’s Wedding in 1917. Deep Valley is a wonderful kind of place where your friends come over every Sunday for dinner and they drop by for fudge parties and boys ask you to dance at the school dances by filling out your dance program.
6. Are you a one-book-at-a-time kind of gal? Or a juggling-multiple-books kind of gal?
I used to try to read several books at once, thinking that since there were so many books I wanted to read, reading multiple books at a time would be the best way to get through my endless TBR pile. One day I realized that this was instead just giving me anxiety and with that I stopped. I didn’t want my favorite activity to be in any way anxiety-inducing so I decided to become a person who reads one book at a time* and is ok with quitting a book when I’m just not into it. Reading anxiety gone!
*I do drive a lot for work and I love listening to audiobooks in the car. Because I do them in different situations, I’m ok with being in the middle of both a physical book and an audiobook at the same time. I’ve also recently been doing some reading for work, but I count that as part of my job, not my downtime reading.
7. Childhood favorite that still holds up
The Little House on the Prairie series was my absolute favorite when I was a kid. I dreamt of wearing petticoats and churning butter and riding my horse (named Bunny) across the prairie. Laura’s life was always an adventure and I loved reading about all the parts of her everyday life from getting dressed to doing chores to holiday celebrations. I love book series that grow with the main character and I remember not appreciating the books from later in the series until I was a little older and then I loved reading about Laura’s social life and Almanzo and Laura’s courtship. I’m still waiting for a boy to come by my house to take me out for a ride in his buggy.
8. Best book-to-movie adaptation
I’m going to cheat a little for this one and say Pride and Prejudice, but have that refer to both the 1995 BBC Colin Firth miniseries and the 2005 movie version starring Keira Knightley. The miniseries is a total classic and its extended format means there is plenty of time to include all of the humor and the subtle details that give life to the story. (Not to mention that Mr. Bingley is a real gem.) The 2005 movie has an almost magical, dreamlike quality to it and is so visually appealing.
9. Next up on your TBR
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubenstein. This is a book I never would have picked up on my own, but Anne Bogel recommended it in an episode of the What Should I Read Next podcast (which Emily wrote about here) and before the episode was over, I had requested it from the library. I’d never heard of it before but it sounds like a really fun book and I’m excited to start reading it!
10. Favorite book you had to read for school
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I had to read this book as required summer reading between my freshman and sophomore year of high school and it blew me away. Before Rebecca, I had never read a book that sucked me in quite so much, nor had I ever been so shocked by a twist ending. This book still remains one of my favorite reading experiences ever.