Heidi’s Reading Insights

What are you reading now?

I am reading 3 books and alternating between them: A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan, Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey, and A Booklover’s Guide to New York by Cleo Le-Tan.

What is in your TBR pile?

A selection of the books I hope to read in the next few weeks include: The Ones We’ve Been Waiting for by Charlotte Alter, All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai, Mary Toft, or the Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer, In Praise of Walking by Shane O’Mara, New Waves by Kevin Nguyen, Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alex Christie, and Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth. Will these books last me through the Pandemic? I hope so, as I hope we get through this quickly, but I have many more books I want to read.

Favorite children’s book and why?

As a child, the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I liked each for the worlds they created for their characters; Madeline may have been an orphan, but she was cared for by Miss Clavel at the orphanage and had fun adventures with her friends; The Borrowers tried to live undetected from big people and use their cast-offs for their own and I liked that they had their own society on a small scale; and finally, Charlie was a good hearted child who gets his own chocolate factory after he finally finds a golden ticket and Willy Wonka understands he is the one who will be the best successor. What could be better for a chocolate lover than that? As an adult, I’ve loved all the Harry Potter books; it’s easy to fall in love with the many settings, the characters, and to root for good over evil.

Favorite non-fiction book and why?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloots because it is a book about many subjects including racism, lack of access to good medical care, journalism, science, and the individual’s right to their autonomy. The book reads like a novel and was impossible to put down or forget. The movie adaptation, in my mind, did not begin to do justice to the book.

Favorite movie and why?

I loved Chariots of Fire when it came out; I was inspired by the music, the dedication to running, and the belief in doing something beyond oneself and this movie has always stayed with me. I watch the movie Enchanted April again and again for the beautiful setting in Italy, the way the women from very different backgrounds share a desire for quiet, beauty, and fellowship, and it was my first introduction to the actor Michael Kitchen from Foyle’s War. I also watch Zoolander whenever I want a laugh; Ben Stiller’s movie is still funny for me 20 years after it was first released.

Favorite TV series and why?

The Wire is a deeply unsettling and disturbing view of an American city and a social commentary of a community ravaged by drugs. This tv series looks at the drug users and dealers, law enforcement, the media, politicians, and business to depict the impact on and by the entire society. It remains a timeless depiction of racism, lack of access and opportunities for the poor, and the institutions that promulgate the status quo. And for something entirely different, I watch Father Ted for its irreverent British humor.

Favorite fiction book and why?

There are too many to name, but I look forward to and am never disappointed by the Bryant & May mystery series by Christopher Fowler. These well written books progress as a series, but almost all can be read as separate stand alone mysteries. I love the cast of misfits who work to solve the “peculiar” crimes the regular police units won’t touch, the fun dialogue, the history and setting of London (I follow along with a detailed London map when reading these), and ultimately interesting stories of each book.

If someone was to play your favorite book character on screen who would it be?

Hugh Grant as John May and Jim Broadbent as Arthur Bryant in the Bryant & May series by Christopher Fowler.