What books are currently on your nightstand?
I’m reading Sebastien Japrisot’s Women in Evidence, a man’s life written in the voices of eight different women. I’m also reading Intimate Lies: The Story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham written by Graham’s son, Robert Westbrook. (It’s the book I’m reading above.) I got interested in this book after reading Stewart O’Nan’s West of Sunset, a fictionalization of the last few years of Fitzgerald’s life when he worked in Hollywood and was involved with Graham.
Who is your favorite novelist of all times?
I couldn’t narrow it down to more than about five and I’m all over the map: Henry James, Anthony Trollope, Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, Barbara Pym, and (of course) Agatha Christie. But ask me tomorrow and my answers might be completely different.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Probably former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Never Again and Sarah Palin’s America by Heart. Full disclosure: These were gag gifts from my husband. He annotated them—heavily and hilariously—before he gave them to me. (I made it through Never Again, but there’s not enough snarky commentary in the world to help me make it past page 37 of Palin’s word salad of a book.)
Who is your favorite fictional hero?
I gravitate toward self-aware yet self-effacing heroines: Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice, Elinor Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility, Mildred Lathbury in Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women (in fact, almost all of Pym’s main female characters), Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, any number of Agatha Christie’s spunky and bright young things like Tuppence Beresford.
What book do you return to?
I find myself rereading Daphne du Maurier’s The Parasites at least once every couple of years. It’s the story of three siblings in continental Europe between the wars and in England after the war, and it has a very complex narrative structure (all three seem to narrate simultaneously). It was the first book for which I wrote an FFB review. I’m sorry du Maurier has fallen so out of favor and, other than Rebecca, is not read much these days.
I’m married with three children. After 20 years in the corporate world as a technical writer, I became a stay-at-home mom for a few years. Then, over a decade ago, I returned to work as an aide in the public schools. I currently work in a special ed classroom with severely-autistic students. It’s a challenging job, but very rewarding. I love to read across all genres, but mysteries are my favorite.