If you’ve spent much time surfing around on our blog, you might’ve noticed a tab for “Random Readers.” This is our opportunity to reach out to our readers and discover what other people are reading. Each week, we intend to run a few of the answers from our Random Readers Survey. If you’d like to take our survey, follow this link.
About Helen: Helen has a PhD in forest ecology from the University of Vermont and still guest lectures in Europe and the US. She is also an avid reader, master gardener (particularly peonies), world traveler, enthusiastic photographer and an active environmentalist.
What are you reading now? The Cold Commands by Richard K Morgan Scifi, and I confess I would have never read it except he is a Scottish author and I keep looking to stay in touch, abreast of what is being written at home. This is incredible stuff. Also reading On Conan Doyle by Michael Dirda and several books on Daphne DuMurier for a bookgroup study.
What was the last book you read? Raw Spirits by Iain Banks (In search of the perfect dram – for a whisky tasting). Death comes to Pemberly by PD James and…Adam Gobnik’s The Steps across the Water (YA).
What is the next book? Two actually – Stef Penney’s The Invisibles, and Simon Beckett’s The Calling of the Grave.
Do you have a backlog? I always have a stack of 30 books somewhere, 20 next to the bed, 20 on a shelf, 20 photos on the iPhone that I have seen in stores, 10 on the waiting list in the library, and of course the list of what is to be published this year that I can’t wait for! There is also 10 to 20 on the Kindle waiting for travel. and a book in each car so that I always have something to read while I am waiting.
Audio, eBook, hardback or paperback? All of the above. I download a lot of eBooks (free, daily deals and authors I can’t wait to read when I need instant gratification) especially when I am traveling (twice a month). I read whatever format the Library has, paperback, hardcover, audio and large print. I tend to buy only hardback from stores, although lots of paperback from used bookstores (I used to only take paperbacks when I traveled, so the eBook has been a godsend for me, both in terms of space and price!) I love our Friends Bookstore and will often buy the hardback copy of a book/author that I loved reading (as an eBook or library copy).
What book have you never read but should? …..I still haven’t finished all the Pulitzers. Some absolute gems, but also some stories I wished I had never encountered.
Who is your favorite author? Can there ever be just one? Roberston Davies – for literature. Susan Hill (mysteries) and Terry Pratchett for science fantasy. Dorothy Sayers and PD James for mystery, Tolkein for Sci-fi, Edward Hoagland for nature writing, Verlyn Klinkenborg essays, Robert Frost poetry, Kate DeCamillo for childrens, Greg Maguire for childrens/YA, Michael Dirda, Nancy Pearl for book commentary, Atul Gawande (medical), Andrew Griegg – Scottish, Clifford Hanley –Scottish, David McCullough – historical. And then there are Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Poe, Eliot, Austen, Stevenson, Steinbeck, Wilder, Hume, Buchan, and how could I not mention…. (Geraldine Brooks, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Vanora Bennet, John Connolly, Dave Duncan, Adam Gopnik, Neil Gaiman, Clive James, Robert Holdstock, Ian Rankin, Mary Doria and Russell, Charles.