By the Book (NY Times Book Review Q & A)

Not long ago I picked up the New York Times Book Review's By the Book, a compilation of Q & A columns that some pretty hard hitting figures of our time have answered (David Sedaris, Anne Patchett, Dave Eggers, JK Rowling, John Irving, David Mitchell, etc...). I figured, since it's sort of a slow day at the office blog I 'd choose some of my favorite questions to answer (many of them are the same but they tweak some for relevancy purposes). 

What book is on your night stand right now?
CS Lewis' The Problem With Pain and Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelson. The first has been sitting there for like four years, when, during a dark time I asked my minister-uncle for a title that would help me grapple with the idea of why a God, if one exists, would be so darn cruel. Maybe God works at Amazon? As soon as they delivered the book life got better and I didn't read it. Last year when things were tough I seriously contemplated reading it, but preferred to escape when reading instead of dwelling. Yes, Chef is because 2015 is the year of my Restaurant Memoir Obsession. 

When, and where do you like to read?
On airplanes, in coffee shops, in parks, in doctor's offices, on beaches, on the couch, in bed, by the pool, in a rocking chair, or in the bathtub. Outside is always best, and preferably with an iced coffee or Diet Coke. When? Whenever I can.

What was the last truly great book you read?
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, in terms of fiction, and Sous Chef by Michael Gibney representing the nonfiction category. There was something about the tone and syntax that he used that really stuck with me. 

What was the best book you read as a student?
A toss up between House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoyevsky. I read both during junior year in high school and I remember putting in so much effort and time into the assignments that came with them. I felt like I truly understood them and connected with the content. It was probably during that time that in the back of my mind I started thinking I could be an English major if the whole "doctor thing" didn't work out. 

Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry? 
It depends on where I am in my life. Right now? I'd prefer to laugh. I think sometimes it's harder to write smart, effective humor. A tearjerker is easy- cancer, death, divorce, family strife, abused kids. But a true, out-loud laugh? I'm admittedly a tough audience. 

What's the book you wish someone [else] would write?
I super concise, high-interest, witty, maybe slightly humorous, summary of the top twenty world religions. Really break it down. Maybe have some pictures. 

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I have a few by Mary Higgins Clark, Danielle Steel, and John Grisham, all from high school. I wouldn't read any of those now, but I'm not embarrassed of the process I've moved through as a reader. You have to read a lot of everything when you're young so you can develop a taste and learn to have a basis for your later criticism. It's like fast food- how can you appreciate fine dining if you've never eaten at McDonalds?

 What are you reading next?
After I finish Yes, Chef, I'm going to start our next book club book, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I keep bumping it for other things, but we meet in a few weeks so I'm going to have to bite the bullet. 

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