My name is Jill, and I’m a bookaholic. (Everyone must now say, “Hi, Jill.”)
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved books. I’ve loved reading them, buying them, looking at them, and even smelling them. Don’t tell me you’ve never noticed the smell of a book. Because you have. And it’s wonderful. My first memories are of my mom reading me Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie to me when I was 3 or 4 before bed. I memorized a children’s book called Noisy Nora when I was 5, and “story time” before bed turned into me reciting it while my mom carried me up to bed.
Here are some anecdotes from my life with books.
In high school, were supposed to read Crime and Punishment over Christmas break for our AP English class. I read Interview with the Vampire and several of its sequels instead, thus beginning the phase of my school career when I didn’t finish a single book I was assigned. And inspiring, in part, one of the first “assignments” my co-blogger and I have given ourselves. More on that later.
In college, I minored in English so I could read for school and have a break from constantly studying for my science classes, memorizing the Kreb’s cycle and whatnot.
I firmly maintain that the reason why I didn’t do very well the first time that I took the GRE was because I spent the two weeks prior reading the first 4 Harry Potter books rather than graphing complicated sample Analytical section questions.
I may have gotten B’s in my second year veterinary school pathology classes because I was sitting in the back row reading Anne Rice books (she has always been a favorite of mine, obviously).
I developed a habit of buying books every week during my first couple of years in veterinary practice because wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble was the only thing that made me less stressed about my job.
And now? Keep reading and you’ll see.
I just quit my job and now I’m a full-time blogger and novelist. Now I just need to find someone who wants to pay me a salary for these endeavors.
I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and have been teaching English in private high schools for ten years, with a three-year break during which I was a boarding school administrator and martial arts addict. Now I’m in transition, reading a lot (hence this blog), working on a whole handful of writing and curriculum-design projects, maybe taking a class here and there, maybe thinking about going back grad school, then settling back to read a little more.
The worst nightmares I’ve ever had were inspired by books – namely The Hobbit (I still get the chills), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a nonfiction book about the Dead Sea Scrolls.
My grad school professors spent four years trying to beat my love of Pat Conroy’s overwritten, melodramatic prose out of me. It didn’t work.
I can’t imagine how people who don’t read deal with being a member of a family. What would I do without Goneril and Regan, without Hamlet, without – for that matter – Pat Conroy? How do non-readers make sense of the world?
Once in grad school I got up during a discussion of Joan Didon’s The Book of Common Prayer, threw the book in the garbage, and announced that I couldn’t stand women writers. The male professor had no idea what to do.
An audio recording of The World According to Garp once saved my life.
I once staked out J.D. Salinger’s house in Cornish, New Hampshire. He didn’t come out. Sometimes when I tell the story, though – especially to my students – I say that he did.
At the moment I have 344 books on my Kindle. But every time I toss it in my purse to go somewhere, it looks so little and lonely that I worry it won’t keep me occupied in every possible contingency. I mean, what if the car breaks down? What if I get arrested for jaywalking? So I toss another book in my purse, just in case. 345 ought to do it.
You can follow me on Twitter @BethanyEdstrom.
So glad I happened upon this blog (after Googling “The Buried Giant ending” after just having finished the book.)
What you write about the book, I could have written, were I so articulate. But you expressed my thoughts, questions and intuitions precisely!
Then again, when I read the “About” sections – the same – even about the Little House books; about not knowing how non-readers deal; and about saying you hate women authors – although I am a bit of a Bronte fanatic, and I do love Edith Wharton, and especially House of Mirth.
So thank you both for this fabulous blog. Closer to 60 than 40, I haven’t yet found family or friends who really share my taste in and love of reading, so somehow, I think I’ll be visiting often!
This is so great to hear — I love it when readers find us and feel a connection! Our new content has been light recently because Jill and I have both had busy summers, but we should be back in full force in the fall. Welcome aboard!
I am also “closer to 60”–well maybe 70–and I too NEED this blog. My poor family enjoys neither my selections in nor my obsession with reading.
Oh happy day! I found your web page because I gave up on the Outlander series and was looking for information on the characters without the agony of one more page. Yes, it was The Fiery Cross that finally broke me.
My childhood nightmare came from the Twilight Zone episode when the world is destroyed, but one bibliophile survives. He is ecstatic that he can now read all the time with no interference. Then he breaks his glasses.
I have bookmarked your blog (so very appropriate) and look forward to visiting often.
Haha — great story. I’m not sure if I saw that episode of TZ, but I can relate. I really do recommend A Breath of Snow and Ashes, but getting through The Fiery Cross on the way there is brutal! Thanks for reading our blog!
OMG, I am so happy to found you, Jill and Bethany. I will NOT allow the Pat Conroy addiction to put me off! I have so enjoyed what I have read. I will be back, and I registered for emails from you.
Welcome! We only indulge our Pat Conroy addiction in September, we promise.
Uh oh! I see excitement gets the better of me: I meant “to have found you . . . ”
(Confession: I am aN obsessive former HS teacher of E/LA and present teacher of English Lit and Comp.)
Bethany: How well you put this: “I can’t imagine how people who don’t read deal with being a member of a family. What would I do without Goneril and Regan, without Hamlet….” Great characters inform my thinking all of the time. They help me to understand the world around me. My head is crammed with characters and they are not always the most admirable. I find myself thinking about Evan Connell’s Bridge family all of the time; I understand my cats by noting that they are playing the roles of Cathy in _Wuthering Heights_ or are in a first paragraph of _Jane Eyre_ mood.
Haha – that’s great. One of my cats is Boo Radley, another more of a Lady Macbeth. The third is Mrs. Manson Mingott from The Age of Innocence. Welcome to PFP!
“Mrs. Manson MIngott” is a truly fantastic character. Some of those “minor” characters really stand out such as “Sairey Gamp” from “Martin Chuzzlewit” or “Owl Eyes” in The Great Gatsby.
Great to meet you both. Thanks for the follow. I look forward to chatting!
Interesting world of books you have! I am glad you found my blog as well. Happy reading and blogging to you.
Yes, it’s so much fun connecting with bloggers. Thanks so much for checking us out.
It is an interesting world. Enjoy the weekend. ^__^