When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I read everywhere. Dad would take me to the library, and I had to use his card so I could check out 25 books instead of 10. I read them the way someone else might stuff their face with brownies (or, actually, the way I sometimes stuff my face with brownies) and then he took me back for another 25.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Wow. That book rocked. I sat in bed, on Mother’s Day, and read from the moment I was awake until I finally fell asleep sometime late that night.
Have you ever faked reading a book?
In high school, I re-wrote the ending of Invisible Man despite having not read it. I made an A. My teacher put my paper on the bulletin board. Did I feel ashamed? Nope. I was durn proud of my skills.
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked its cover?
Yes. More than once, I’m sure. Most recently, I used part of a gift card to buy Glass Wives. Something about the cover drew me in. I’m not sure what, because it isn’t a particularly amazing cover. It must have been the mood I was in, craving a certain style of story.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Define “child.” Ha! I was obsessed with the Oz books (still am). In 8th grade, I fell for Rebecca and wrote my own sequel (the only fan iction I have ever penned). If we go back even younger, I adored the Choose Your Own Adventure novels, along with Sweet Valley and Baby-Sitters Club. Oh, I know now!! Favorite childhood book: The Great Gilly Hopkins. It made me want to be a writer, to create people.
What book changed your life?
I supposed saying The Bible is a bit cliche, no matter how true. Other books that altered my life in some way include: One Thousand Gifts, Wild Goose Chase, Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Irresistible Revolution, and Searching for God Knows What.
What is your favorite passage from a book?
What a tough question. There are many, but the one that instantly popped into my mind was this, from Lolita:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Who are your top 5 favorite authors?
This kills me. I have favorite authors within genres. Hmm… I will do two lists. I have two.
Sarah Addison Allen
G K Chesterton
C S Lewis
Sue Monk Kidd
What book has no one heard about but should read?
I will go with Poemcrazy. I know plenty of my poet friends know the book, but it has a much wider application for life. My copy is underlined and highlighted and bent and worn from use. It’s my creative-soul Bible, in a way. It helps me remember to be who I am, as a writer, yes, but also as a person. It is a reminder to have fun, to not take myself so seriously. I adore it.
What book are you an evangelist for?
Lots. I am forever convincing people to read something. Corey and I joke that I should be receiving commissions. Books I have recently convinced other people to buy include: Red Letter Revolution, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Cutting for Stone.
What are your favorite books by a first-time author?
I loved The World’s Strongest Librarian. It was both funny and helpful. I loved Joss’ first novel, Gods in Alabama. Jacqueline West’s Elsewhere series is her first bit of fiction. The first book was fabulous. I want to read the rest as well.
What is your favorite classic book?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Five other notable mentions:
Lisa Samson’s books. She writes “Christian fiction” that I actually enjoy reading.
Anything by Toni Morrison
Joan Bauer is a favorite. She writes good stories.
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer was fabulous. So different in a good way.
Everything Chris Cleave writes is magic. Can I be him when I grow up?