Tag Archives: reading

Q&A With Jodi Picoult in Houston

Listen up, y’all. Just read.
This is Jodi Picoult, an author I discovered recently and I have become enthralled with her books. I love the amount of knowledge I gain after reading her books. I can tell that she researches and dives deep into the topics. 
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I discovered that she’d be in Houston, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to see her! It was about an hour of her talking with Q&A, and then she did photographs. We also got a copy of her new book, A Spark of Light! I WAS TOTALLY FANGIRLING. 
I want to share some of what she said, because I sure do wish everyone could have been there.
First of all, I made a new friend last night! As I was waiting in line to get in, someone asked if she could take a pic of my 2 different shoes so she could show her daughter. Needless to say, we became Best Book Friends and sat by each other and got to know each other a bit throughout the night. I’m so glad I met Amy! We even got BACK in line to get a picture with Jodi Picoult together 😀 I definitely hope Amy and I get to spend some more time together! We live on opposite sides of Houston, but meeting in the middle needs to happen, at least!
JodiPicoult_HOU_0333
Now, A Spark of Light is a book about abortion. It’s a controversial topic, and Picoult was saying last night that the book isn’t pro-life or pro-choice…but people reading it often see it one way or the other. She said that “When women don’t tell their stories, other people make up narratives for us.” She encouraged everyone to share stories of things they’ve been through – abortion, sexual assault, racism, etc. Just share. Talk about it.
Before the event began, we could submit questions to ask….so I submitted 4. 
  1. Is there a topic you’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t quite figured out how to yet?
  2. Did you write when you were younger? AKA when did you start writing?
  3. Who are your favorite authors?
  4. Which book of yours was hardest to write?

Now, she didn’t answer all 4, but 2 of my questions were answered!

In response to question 1, she said that there was a topic that she’d wanted to write about for a long time, but wasn’t sure how. It took her a long time to crack. It’s the recent book she wrote, called Small Great Things (which I just bought at Half Price Books and am looking forward to reading!). It’s about racism in America. She said her book isn’t here to tell people of color about racism. It’s for white people. She said that racism is prejudice plus power, and that she lives her life very differently now because of that book. 

Someone else asked her what her favorite book is that she’s written, and she said it’s Small Great Things. It’s the only book she’s written that’s made her change as a human being. 

In response to my question #2, she said that she did write when she was younger! Her first book, which her mom still has, was called “The Lobster that was Misunderstood” and it’s complete with words and pictures all her own. 

Someone asked her how long it takes her to write a book. She said it depends on the book, and the amount of research needed. It’s pretty easy to find, for example, lawyers to talk to and interview, but harder to find, say, an Eskimo. But in general, it takes about 9 months, which she likened to growing and birthing a baby. 

When asked how she chooses the topics to write on, Picoult said “If I keep thinking about it and it keeps me up at night, I should write a book about it.”

Someone asked about the next book she’s working on, and she said it answers the question “who would you be if you weren’t who you are now?” She added that it also involves Ancient Egypt, to which Amy and I assumed she’s got trips to Egypt in her near future for research!

Also discussed was how to get kids interested in reading when they don’t want anything to do with books. She said to not start with the big classics and popular books….let them read about topics they are interested in! If they love baseball, let them read baseball books and baseball stats. If they love Minecraft, let them read books about Minecraft. Once they read about topics they love, they will naturally fall in love with reading and will eventually be more open to other topics. But let them read what they want. 

She was also asked what the best and the worst thing is about being an author. 

Picoult said that the best thing about being an author is meeting people and hearing how her books have affected them. 

She then said that the worst thing about being an author is Twitter. There are some mean people on Twitter. 

She mentioned a few times about how she enjoys getting and answering fan mail….I’ve never sent fan mail, but you bet your butt I’m gonna. 

There was so much more shared, and I won’t be writing it all here. If you ever have the chance to see an author speak, GO. This was my first time, and I foresee many more in my future. 

What’s your favorite Jodi Picoult book?

 

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Curious

Books.

I am currently reading three books:

The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s by Temple Grandin

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

The most recent addition to my bookshelf is Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy. I saw it at Costco and it was cheaper than on Amazon, so I couldn’t pass it up. It’s next in line for reading. I’ve never read it before, but Binchy’s Tara Road has been one of my favorite books since high school, so I want to read this new one. 

I usually have more than one book going at a time, usually from different genres, so I can pick up the kind of book I’m in the mood for at the time.

A couple of days ago, I watched the movie Saving Mr. Banks. It became an instant favorite, and I watched it again today. I think I will watch it very often over the next few months, that’s how much I love it.

It inspired me to re-read all of the Mary Poppins books. There’s 8 of them. It’s probably been over 10 years since I last the first 4, and it’s about time I do it again, and read the last 4 as well. However, I don’t want to just borrow them from the library. No, I want to own them. So, I made a list of all the books so that when I am at the thrift store I can search for them.

Then I couldn’t stop, so I made a list of many other books I want to own…then went to one of my bookshelves for some inspiration.

While looking through my bookshelf, I noticed something curious. On the Romanian books, the titles on the spine are printed opposite the American books. See what I mean?

Curiouser and curiouser.

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On Reading

Today I realized two reasons why I love to read:

1: It makes me proud. 

I got my car detailed today (I haven’t had a car this clean inside and out for YEARS!). While I was waiting, there were 3 men around me who were also waiting, and they were all doing something on their smartphones. I pulled out my Alice in Wonderland book and started reading where I had left off last time I was waiting for something. And yes, it made me proud to be a book reader amongst the smartphone men. Who knows, maybe they were reading a book on their smartphone (I doubt it). However, there is just something about holding a book in your hand that makes it more worthwhile. 

2: One word can trigger the memory of a whole story.

I have recently (meaning last week) discovered the beauty of Panko bread crumbs. And after my car wash today I went to the grocery store and I bought pork chops (among other things). So when I got home, I looked for a recipe involving pork chops and Panko bread crumbs. Found quite a few, and decided on one after I read “No need for frying, this oven baked, lower fat pork chop recipe is delicious served with pasta and your favorite simple marinara or puttanesca sauce.”

Is it the “no need for frying” that got to me? NO. 

Is it the “lower fat” that got me? NO. 

Was it the “puttanesca” that got me? ABSOSTINKINLUTELY YES. 

The last (and only) time I hard the word “puttanesca” was when I read A Series of Unfortunate Events. I love that series!

puttanesca

Reading the word “puttanesca” again brought back the memory of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny being forced to cook for the evil Count Olaf and making puttanesca sauce. I had never eaten it then, and I still haven’t eaten it (if I ever to make it, I am leaving out the anchovies), but what matters is that ONE WORD can bring back a whole memory of a book I have read. Like magic. 

And there you have it. Two of the many reasons why I love to read. 

P.S. Shout out to Texas Car Wash on Eldridge here in Houston, TX for doing a great job with my car.

P.P.S. Shout out to all the writers ever. 

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Captivated by Books

I love holding a book in my hands, getting cozy, and reading.
I also love doing whatever I feel like (cooking, cleaning, resting) and listening to an audio book.

Even when I am here in Romania, I take time to read.

There are some books that captivate me no matter how many times I re-read them.

Namely, Harry Potter.

I just finished re-reading (well, listening to) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my roommate. And every time I re-read the part where Dumbledore dies, I can’t help but cry. If it’s an audio book, I can’t multitask during the part where they are in the astronomy tower and Snape kills Dumbledore, when they are with Hagrid and he finds out what happened, and when they are in the hospital wing afterwards.

I simply can’t. It is sad every time and I feel like I need to devote my full attention to times like that.

When we were at the beginning of the book, I asked my roommate “Wait, is this the one where Dobby dies? Or is that the next one?” She assured me that it’s the next one, and I said “Oh, good. I’m glad Dobby is still alive.” I later remembered that it couldn’t have been this one because he dies while they are searching for the Deathly Hallows.

Even though Cedric, Sirius,  Dumbledore, Hedwig, Dobby, Fred, and Snape die each time I read the books or watch the movies, it is still sad every time. And if I don’t actually cry, I at least shed a tear. And when I read an earlier book, I am glad they are still alive.

How do books have the power to captivate us over and over again?

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