6 questions we always ask: Linda White, book maniac & new MN Reads reviewer

I was lucky enough to connect with Linda White from the Minneapolis Examiner after she wrote very, very nice things about our little website. Now she’s going to be reviewing books here on MN Reads. Here’s a little bit more about Linda in her own words: “I love Minnesota. I once left here to live somewhere else and it was the worst two years of my life. Although maybe that wouldn't be true had I gone to Paris. I've worked in publishing for a lot of years. I was also in on the ground floor of the dot-com bubble. Nothing like working for a VC-funded website (or several). I write, promote, review and teach. So I'm an Opportunity Addict. I tend to be too serious when sarcasm is called for and flippant when gravity is best. Mostly, I love language, words, fonts, paper, things like that. I'm a member of the NBCC and other places.”

You can learn more about Linda, the classes she teaches, and everything else she’s involved in by visting her site BookMania.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I am deep into Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland, and it's very good so far. I had heard good things, and judging from the queue at the library, it's a hot one right now. I am also reading the latest Jasper Fforde, my guilty pleasure, called One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, but thinking that I am going to have to quit and go back and re-read some of the earlier books in the series, because it's been so long I'm missing a lot of references. And also on my GoodReads list is Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry, but not sure when I'll get back to that. And right under the Vreeland book on my bedside pile is Assassination Vacation by Susan Vowell, which I'm half done with, but the Vreeland book is due back at the library sooner, and I had to wait so long. You've got to set your priorities, right?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
I don't usually get swayed by figures on celluloid or paper, but if I did, I would say that my crush was on Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. That anguished crying, that creepy scratching at the window ? how could you not want to make him feel better? I know, he is really a creep throughout most of the book, but I think he truly loved Catherine. The first entries from Catherine's diary were enough to make me take pity on poor Healthcliff.

If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?
I would love to drive Jasper Fforde around town. He's so funny! I'd take him to The Hanger Room in Willernie (our little secret) for a fantastic steak (and it doesn't hurt that they have an amazing selection of beers on tap). Then we'd head over to St. Paul for the patio at WA Frost if it were really nice out, and then the Happy Gnome for a nightcap. Show him what's all good about Minnesota (and it wouldn't hurt if the weather cooperated).

What was your first favorite book?
Hmmm. I didn't have a lot read to me when I was little, which is amazing now that I think about it, but my mom worked a lot. The first book I remember being read to me was a Dr. Seuss book. I thought I could actually read it, until that babysitter stopped coming and I realized I had memorized it. One of the first books I ever read more than once on my own was the Mary Poppins series. My aunt gave me the boxed set and there are four of them (one's a bonus book). I probably re-read them about once a year. I totally wanted to be in on that scene with the miniature plasticine people! But I love those books. They have stayed with me. I also liked a little Scholastic book called The Hundred Dresses, which I still have.

Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, which book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?
That's really hard. Can I say Fahrenheit 451? No, okay. I would say The Lord of the Rings, but that sounds too daunting to memorize. I would want to pick something with beautiful language, and with an interesting story but that has a larger meaning. So looking at those criteria, I think I would choose The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Every time I read it I am reminded of what a beautiful writer he was. Of course, tomorrow I'll probably come up with five others? 'no, wait, change my pick!' But I do love that book.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
I want to read the Bible all the way through. There's so much good stuff in there, and even with my parochial school education, I have only touched on some of it. Oh, and maybe War and Peace? I mean, what's the big deal? But that one, I would have to have a discussion group going or something, or it would drive me crazy. Other big books come to mind, like Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Ulysses by James Joyce and Homer's The Odyssey. I want to read some of these great big doorstops, but I want to read them in a way that will help me appreciate them, not just bumble through them.

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  1. Amy 10.May.11 at 10:10 am

    There’s an online group reading War and Peace right now–a year-long group, reading one chapter a day. Conveniently, W&P has 365 chapters, mostly very short. I’m finding it surprisingly accessible and enjoyable.

  2. LeAnn Suchy 11.May.11 at 11:48 am

    I agree about all the Thursday Next books. I need to go back and re-read them before I dive into the latest one. Maybe I’ll read them all over the summer and post some big blog review about all of them (partly to just help me remember!).

  3. Linda White 16.May.11 at 10:26 am

    Hey, what’s the name of that group, Amy? I have heard about things like that. Didn’t know it was 365 chapters – how convenient! I know there is a local book club that does this (I think they are doing Ulysses now), but I can’t join another book club. At least not right now. Three is my limit.

  4. Amy 16.May.11 at 10:36 am

    There’s not a specific name to the group, but the blogger who’s running it is here:

    Really, it’s not nearly a difficult a book as I’d expected. The best advice I’ve gotten is to find a family tree online (lots of places have them) with the various Russian derivatives listed, so you can keep track of the different characters at first. Once you get into it, it’s not hard to do os.


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