Today’s guest reader: Lludmila Mirrikh, doyenne of a tiny sliver of Awen’s skyscape and host of the monthly Cozy Mystery Book Group at Bookstacks.
What was the last book you finished reading and who was it by?
- Sophie’s World by Josteen Gaarder (since last March, but I’m still reading it, honest!)
- Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey
- The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
- The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
Which one I will have finished first by the time this gets published is a crapshoot. The last one I actually finished was a reread of a children’s book, Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson. Love her stuff.
And, of course, I just finished The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins for my upcoming Cozy Mysteries Discussion Monday, 28 March at 11 am PST or Tuesday, 29 March at 6 pm PST here in The Pub on Awen – PLUG PLUG PLUG.
What is a favorite book from childhood?
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – because I was a little martyr child growing up. I read it every month of my life from about age 10 on up into high school and had a good cry over it each and every time. It was a gift from my sister, who was more of a The Secret Garden type (pushy and wilfull). I was 8 when she gave it to me and it took a couple of years and some reads to get into it. Sara Crewe kept herself going with her imagination and I could relate to that as well as the snobs that poison a kid’s school experience.
What book do you absolutely hate but were forced to read?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens when I was, what, in 9th grade? However, I read The Mystery of Edwin Drood when I was about 30 and after that I couldn’t get enough Dickens and enjoyed Great Expectations as if I’d never read it before. I would sit up to 4 am finishing a Dickens novel. I was reading Bleak House (quite the tome) when I was working as a paralegal and one of the attorneys said, “If you don’t like lawyers, you’re really going to hate the end of that book.” “What? You mean the estate is totally eaten up by legal fees?” “Uh, yeah.” “You can tell that’s coming from the first page,” I told him. The lesson I draw from this is that not every book is accessible to everyone at any age, but also that just because you didn’t like a book when you first read it, doesn’t mean you should give up on it. I think Great Expectations was a poor choice for that age group – and that its only virtue for that target audience is being short.
Are you a book collector, avid library patron, or do you use the revolving door at the used book store?
Okay, 500,000 words … ummm, I have a huge collection of books because I really enjoy rereading some and many of them are hard to find or I use them for reference. I used to just keep them indiscriminately, but I’ve run out of room.
I work in a public library, so I’m always availing myself of their materials, including the electronic ones.
I’m more inclined to buy used books (through amazon.com or local book sales) or trade them online (through bookmooch.com) because I’m a total tightwad and I go through quite a few books in a year.
New books only if that’s the only way! Well, new books as gifts, though.
What book would you recommend to others?
The one book I have collected over the years – from yard sales etc., anywhere I see it for 50 cents or so – to give to people to read is Shogun by James Clavell. I spent six days absolutely riveted to that book and now force all sorts of people to read it. Years after I read it I picked up a book, Shades of the Past by Harold S. Williams and discovered that Clavell’s opus was based on an historical event of an Englishman who ended up in Feudal Japan and, well, went native. The reader is so immersed in the culture that she gets the impression that she can speak Japanese by the end of it, causing much consternation in her half-Japanese, half-Ukrainian roommate. This book was recommended to me by someone in grad school who insisted I would love it, but I didn’t think so. Oh, he was so right and I was sooo wrong!
So, this is my book advice: read Shogun (or listen to the audio if you think a mere 1,200 pages is too much) and give some books that you thought were a pile of pig hooey in school a second chance when you get older.
You can find out more about what Lludmila is reading and read her reviews on GoodReads.