About Me

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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Favorite Books and Magazines

Our house is filled with books. We have books in the bedroom (three full bookshelves), two bookshelves in the living room, one in the dining room, one upstairs in Miguel's room, one in my office, one in the upstairs landing and an entire wall of books in Charles' studio.

I tend to lean in the direction of women's fiction (NOT romance novels!). My favorite authors are Elizabeth Berg, Maeve Binchy and Jan Karon, although I was disappointed in Jan Karon's second novel in her Fr. Tim series, The Company of Others. Elizabeth Berg has written so many great books and I've enjoyed every one that I've read so far. Maeve Binchy has improved over the years - her early books had kind of a melodramatic, couldn't-figure-out-how-to-end-the-book-so-I'll-kill-somebody-off feel to them, but she really turned a corner with Scarlet Feather, followed by Tara Road. Quentins was a fun read, mostly because of her "short stories within a novel" approach. She is a good short story writer. She has reintroduced many of her characters in her books, so it's kind of like seeing old friends again when I read a new book of hers. She has a new one coming out soon that I'm looking forward to.

As far as non-fiction authors go, I love Haven Kimmel, whose two memoirs, A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off The Couch are two of my favorite books - so much so that when I see copies of them at the Friends of the Library's Amazing Bookstore, I buy them so I can pass them on to friends. And of course, there is Heather Lende, who has written two books about life in Haines, Alaska: If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name and Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs. Both books are moving, funny and completely real. Her stories of her friends and neighbors and of life in a small Alaska town are great. I have given her books to friends and relatives as gifts, and would collect used copies, but her books are not the kind that people donate to used bookstores - they are the kind that people keep to read again.

I just finished a funny book by Wally Lamb, called Wishin' and Hopin' that was so funny, I had to keep putting it down to wipe my eyes from laughing. I think more Wally Lamb is in my future.

Books are a big part of our lives (and our decor, obviously!) I'm glad we live a couple of blocks from the Douglas Public Library.

Charles' taste is more for non-fiction: theology, history, current events, patristics, biography and poetry. When he moved to Juneau, he shipped up 75 boxes of books. He periodically culls his books, as do I, but he has a huge library.

We have a couple of boxes of children's books that are in storage for our future grandchildren. Some of them we bought for our kids, and some were part of my children's literature collection from my days of teaching preschool.

I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living, mostly because the photography is so beautiful. I also read Real Simple (which a friend says is neither!). The merchandise that is discussed in Real Simple is pretty expensive, but it is fun to look at and the articles are informative and interesting. I like Country Living, again for the beautiful photos. I have actually gotten some ideas for our own house from Country Living, but we're not going to win any decorating awards! I love Woman's Day and Family Circle for the recipes (and especially Woman's Day because Heather Lende now has a regular column!)

I read People and Us magazines to keep up with popular culture. Charles once said (during the Princess Diana craze) that I knew more about the British Royal Family than I did about the people next door. It is mental popcorn, and I am completely unapologetic. If I start reading the National Enquirer, then you can criticize me!

We love to read like we love to breathe.

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