This is the fourth interview for Reader of the Month.
Back when I was at Baylor, I was lucky enough to land work-study at the Armstrong Browning Library. Kat B., my boss there, is responsible for this. My experience there led me to become a librarian, too. When I ventured outside the Baylor Bubble, I was blessed to maintain contact with Kat B. Not only is she my friend, she’s one of the most intriguing people I know.
1. What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?
Beauty by Roger Scruton. It has to do with aesthetics–why art, architecture, fashion, and general living spaces have become ugly instead of beautiful, why kitsch and sentimentality have replaced refined culture. There are several authors who seem to me to be straight thinking in a twisted world and he is one of them. It spurred me on to read some books along similar lines, notably, Art’s Prospect by Roger Kimball, From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe, Money for Art by David A. Smith, and finally A New Theory of Urban Design by Christopher Alexander, Hajo Neis, Artemis Anninou, Ingrid King.
2. Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?
I want to know everything in the world. I began calculating how much time I’ve spent reading, how long it’s taken me to get this far, and decided that there simply isn’t time for me to read everything I’d like to before I die, even if I live to be 80. I’m trying to focus more than ever before on topics specific to my writing projects, practical things I am involved in–the world of art and museums, and how-tos for practical living. I’ve also made it a point to buy the works of certain favorite authors and poets: Doyle; Dumas, le pere; Kipling; and the Brownings. (I can’t read every classic author before I die and get anything done.) I’m taking the time to savor works, because I had to read them on the fly most of my life.
3. What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?
The Triumph of Individual Style: A guide to dressing your body, your beauty, your self by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor–positively the best book of its kind I’ve ever picked up, bar none.
4. Who supplies your reading material?
Before I moved, I bought a lot of used books from various places. I still do, but very, very rarely. Mostly I get books through interlibrary loan and there are several university libraries near me, one of which I will apply for a card very soon.
5. What type of reading do you usually enjoy?
I read mostly non-fiction. That’s because I want to understand and fix everything in the world. However, one may say that I read “everything” but we cannot take that too literally. I also pour over biblical sources a lot.
6. Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?
There are no authors I read regardless of anything (if I understand the question). Certainly some authors will remain in my heart for life.
7. What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. I’ve perused it a bit and, frankly, consider it the outstanding work of our time. (While we are at it, I have always secretly wondered why every serious work warrants a title with a colon and then a descriptor!)
8. Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?
Many. Several come to mind, but if I had to choose it would be Abandonment to Divine Providence (sometimes translated as The Sacrament of the Present Moment) by J.P. de Caussade. It greatly elucidated the work of Jesus Christ in our every waking moment, whether that moment is happy or traumatic.
9. What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It taught me to care about poor little children everything, to never side with bullies, and to think of myself as a little princess in disguise whenever I felt too poor to measure up.
10. Where do you like to read?
Anywhere, mostly just alone or while waiting somewhere.
11. Other than reading, what do you like doing?
Is there anything else? I’ve taken up sewing and bicycling again between a lot of random activities.
12. Where can we find you online?
13. Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?
Okay, ahem… What is “shout out”?
14. How about sharing five random facts about you?
Random craziness, huh? Let’s see…a) I used to be a Girl Scout, b) I have two grown children, c) I studied journalism, Spanish, history and museology in university, d) I worked at the Armstrong Browning Library before e) moving to Spokane, WA with my husband artist Melville Holmes.