About the book: “It’s the start of Stephanie Starrs’s senior year of high school, but sadly, this is no life of the prom queen. Stuck at the bottom of the high school social totem pole, Stephanie is forced by her domineering mother to wear lumpy linen dresses and eat organic tofu for lunch in a world of mini-skirts and pizza. When Stephanie doesn’t anticipate is gorgeous and cocky Haley Smith who breaks social convention and pursues her with a determination that is both terrifying and flattering. Afraid that Haley is simply trying to set her up for massive humiliation, Stephanie does her best to push him away. But the more attention he pays to her, the more she runs, and the more everyone else begins to notice. Instead of a loving family to support her as the mean girls make their play, Stephanie’s mother begins to unravel mentally, her possessiveness of Stephanie spiralling to new and frightening extremes. Stephanie is forced to grow up, find herself, and learn the truth about her past in order to save her mother, her friends, and her town. When the truth is revealed, nothing can prepare her for the outrageous reality of her existence… and nothing can save her from her fate. Except Haley.”
Today I have the wonderful Cait Reynolds on my blog as part of the blog tour for her new novel Downcast published by Booktrope. So I will hand over to her!
When, How, and What I Read (because I’m weird)
I think it’s fair to begin with a warning.
I have strange reading habits.
Okay. You have been warned.
I will only read particular types of books at particular times of day or in particular places. I read so fast that my mom used to complain I “ate my books whole.” I am so oblivious to mortal things when I read that I often need to be touched to get my attention – I won’t hear you.
I obsessively categorize my favorite books in my head until it resembles a Pinterest board gone bad mated with the Library of Congress. I am ruthlessly picky about what I read. I am no longer ashamed of anything I choose to – or not to – read.
The first time of day I sit down to read is breakfast.
Yes. I read at the table during meals. I always have. Mom used to sit with me, reading at the same time. Dad was seeing patients late at the office usually, so it was just us, and I loved the companionable silences with our literary meals.
I will read during breakfast, lunch, and dinner…but I will only read certain types of books. These are invariably old friends. They are not upsetting, not too riveting, generally amusing, and delightful, relaxing companions. I don’t have to work too hard at them, so I can enjoy my food as well.
I read and re-read these books over the years, and by the time I’m done with the whole list of them, the first books seem like dear, old friends come to visit. You know all about them, but there’s some fresh quirk you’ve missed or forgotten.
These books tend to be written by English authors and set between the two World Wars in England (with the exception of Judge Dee, who takes me back to Tang Dynasty China). Especially in Benson and Wodehouse, there’s a great deal about food and humor about food, and it makes me feel like I’m enjoying a lovely gourmet meal (Oh, what could Anatole do with peanut butter and jelly?).
Books to Eat By:
– Anything Agatha Christie
– The Lucia Series by E.F. Benson
– Anything by P.G. Wodehouse
– The Judge Dee Mysteries by Robert Van Gulik
I do not read fiction at night. Absolutely not. To me, that is the equivalent of having an espresso while taking speed. Even with mediocre books, I have trouble putting the book down until I know exactly how everything ends. But, even then, I have to think about it for a while.
With a good fiction book? I’m a nasty, grumpy, book hangover-ish mess the next day. So, what’s a girl to do?
Read non-fiction at night.
That’s right. Pick a subject and surf Amazon until you get some really good books on a subject and then read them. Maybe it’s just a few pages at a time, or maybe a chapter, but you learn something, enjoy some good writing, but are eased into falling asleep.
Also, I read paperback or non-backlit Kindle before bed. That’s the only way to get my eyes to relax.
Books to Read Before Bed
Example reading list – a few years ago, I became interested in the Amazon, after my husband gave me The Lost City of Z. I ended up collecting a nice little set of books about the topic.
– The Lost City of Z by David Grann
– The Mapmaker’s Wife by Robert Whitaker
– Exploration Fawcett by Col. Percy Fawcett
– The River of Darkness by Buddy Levy
– The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Nowadays, I work from home, so my train commute is gone. But, when I did ride the subway to and from work, I found it was a nice, safe time to engage in a little fiction reading. I would also read on my lunch break (when I did take a lunch break). This would keep me from staying up all night to finish a particularly amazing story.
However, now, I don’t have that luxury. So, I save my books for plane rides, travel, and vacation. The greatest indulgence for me is to sit outside in the shade and spend hours reading. That’s it. I’m happy. Okay, maybe I get up and go walk on the beach or play in the ocean, but really, that’s it. I’m happy.
My husband and I went on a five-day trip to the Dominican Republic back in March, and I brought six books and two astronomy magazines (yeah, whatever, I’ll get to that part). By the end of the flight back to Boston, I was working as hard as I could to stretch out my last magazine.
That’s how much I am committed to literary catatonia on vacation.
I also don’t particularly like fluffy books for fiction on vacation. They’re good for a day off now and then, but I really love engrossing, complex literary thrillers.
Books to Vacation By
– The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
– The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
– Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
– In the Woods by Tana French
– Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt
– Fangland by John Marks
Just writing this list makes me itch to go over to Amazon and thumb through my wish list to see what I’ve got on tap for the week on the beach this summer. But, I will resist.
Finally, I will leave you with magazines.
I subscribed to two magazines: Discover Magazine and La Cucina Italiana. Apparently, America is full of Philistines who never heard of and never subscribed to La Cucina Italiana, so they stopped producing the English language version of the magazine. I was devastated.
For a while, I was down to Discover Magazine, and I hoard that thing like my life depends on it, doling out the articles with painful precision because I have finally found a source for science that explains it in simple sentences and shows all the amazing things about our bodies, our world, and our universe.
You could also call Discover Magazine the “Plot Bunny Magazine” for me, because almost every story makes me want to write a book. My favorite stories, however, tend to be about astronomy.
This year, for Christmas, my husband struck gold. Not only did he order a ton of non-fiction books from my wish list for me, but he got me a subscription to “Astronomy” magazine, put out by the same publishers as Discover. I fully admit that I don’t get all of the science – it’s for a far more astronomy-knowledgeable crowd than myself, but I still love this magazine.
I use Discover and Astronomy as my breathers between non-fiction books at night. These were also good for commuting and lunch breaks.
I can’t read fashion magazines because they make me anxious. I feel like I’m supposed to be paying attention to all this stuff in there and interested in things that just have no appeal to me.
Oh, one other magazine I enjoy? Vanity Fair – but not the celebrity interviews. I always skip those. I like their dirty little digging on politics, society scandals, murders, and the like. Yeah, I know. I’m a baaaaad person. I’m probably going to hell.
But, on the upside? It will be warm, and I’ll have all the time in the world to tackle the rest of my wish list.
About the author
Cait Reynolds lives in the Boston area with her husband and 4-legged fur child. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking delicious meals, running around the city, rock climbing like a boss, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes. Reynolds is able to pull from real life experiences such as her kidney transplant, and her writing reflects her passion for life from having to face the darkest places and find the will to laugh.
Check out Cait’s Website
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