6 questions we always ask — Jennifer Dougherty, the newest MN Reads reviewer

I met Jenn, an elementary school teacher, at a party this summer. We bonded over the Olympics and avoiding the attentions of a really weird drunk guy. Since then we began e-mailing back and forth. What struck me about our correspondence was the way she wrote about books. So, much like a sweaty-palmed eighth grader asking the captain of the basketball team to the Sadie Hawkins dance, I asked her if she’d be interested in contributing to MN Reads. I was thrilled when she said yes. Look for her reviews on the pages of MN Reads in the coming days (or weeks, it’s getting to be that busy time of year).

What book(s) are you currently reading?
White Teeth by Zadie Smith and Until I Find You by John Irving

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
Well…I’ve never had a crush on any fictional characters in books I’ve read all the way through. But I do have a crush on Mr. Darcy (the Colin Firth diving-into-the-pond Mr. Darcy.) I guess I’ve done and outed myself as someone who has not, in fact, actually finished Pride and Prejudice (I’ll duck now so that I don’t get hit by the stones that I’m sure will be thrown at me.)

If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?
One author? I absolutely cannot answer that question. I am incapable of choosing one. I’d rather have a dinner party, and invite Toni Morrison, Jennifer Weiner, David Sedaris, John Irving, Stephen King, Kate DiCamillo, Jodi Picoult, Ethan Canin, and Ruth Reichl – that’d be quite an interesting dinner. I hope it’s successful.

What was your favorite first book?
The first favorite book I can remember is Charlotte’s Web. I remember grinding my teeth so that I wouldn’t cry because I never knew that books could make you cry, and it scared me a little. I was also more than a little fanatical about The Black Stallion series – it inspired me to learn how to play guitar for the single purpose of writing a song about a horse. Never actually did that – write a song OR learn the guitar.

Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, who book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Yes, a children’s book, but it had a very, very significant impact on me and came to me at a time in my life when I needed it most. Kate DiCamillo has a way of writing about sadness that is, to me, delicate and devastating at the same time.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
Well, I guess I better finish Pride and Prejudice.

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