I like to start my “Books of My Life” posts by sharing how I know the person I’m interviewing. For the life of me, I can’t remember how I originally discovered Stacey Loscalzo, but I’m a loyal follower of her blog. We were also classmates for one of The HerStories Project’s writing classes. Stacey’s been a huge supporter of my Barrett posts. She used to work with special needs students as a speech therapist and reading specialist. We also connected over my road trips, as I’ve visited her hometown, and if I’m not mistaken, we also made a Virginia connection. Finally – and most importantly♥ – Stacey loves books as much as I do! Stacey’s a regular contrinutur to the fabulous book blog, Great New Books (you must check it out!). I hope you enjoy reading her answers.
What was my favorite book as a child?
My mother read to me a ton but the words I remember most from my childhood are the poems of A.A. Milne.
What was your favorite book that you read for school?
I loved reading and writing about the Scarlet Letter.
What’s a book that really cemented you as a writer?
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
Is there a book that you’ve read over and over again?
I am not a huge re-reader. In fact, the only book I can think of that I’ve read again is Little Woman and I haven’t re-read it a very long time. Perhaps it should go to the top of my to be read pile!
What’s a classic you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read? Anna Kerinana. War and Peace. Any of those big long ones!
What’s a book you’ve pretended to read?
So many of the classics! I’m afraid I am not a huge classics fan. Books like Jane Eyre and The Grapes of Wrath. I read them all in school but I have no recollection of most of them.
What’s a book you consider grossly over-rated? After hearing about Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara from so many readers I admire, I tried multiple times to get in to this book and I just couldn’t’ do it. Oh and ditto for The Goldfinch.
What’s a recent book you wish you’d written? Fate and Furries. I so admired Lauren Groff’s ability to create two such different main characters all within one plot.
What’s a favorite movie adaptation of a book you loved? As a teenager I read Gone with the Wind once and then watched the movie adaptation countless times. I couldn’t get enough of Scarlet. Worst adaptation of a book you loved? While I loved the Harry Potter movies, some of the characters looked different than I had imagined them and I didn’t like that.
The books I read to my children: We read aloud a ton in our family but our most recent favorite series include The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall and Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. And our favorite picture book hands down is Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by my favorite illustrator Marla Frazee.
What was an illicit book you had to read in secret as a child? I don’t remember there being any books that I wasn’t allowed to read when I was growing up. I’m sure my reading freedom contributed greatly to my love of books.
What’s a book people might be surprised to learn that you loved? The Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I would not consider myself a fan of horror but this book really hooked me. I read it last year and am still trying to find other books like it.
If there were only one genre that you could read for the rest of your life, what would it be? This is super hard. I really don’t think I can choose between literary fiction, memoir and mystery. Each of these genres are right for me depending on what is going on in my life at the time. My reading life would feel incomplete without them all in it.
Is there a book you’ve given multiple times as a gift? I give Mem Fox’s Time for Bed and Reading Magic to every new mother I know.
What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry? I don’t tend to read a lot of funny books. The first one that comes to mind is Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants but I read that ages ago. The crying question is easier. Last month I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I cried so much reading this book that I had to keep taking a break from reading it. That said, it was worth every tear.
What are you reading now? I am reading Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteredge. Somehow I had never read this one and went to it immediately after finishing Strout’s incredible new book, My Name is Lucy Barton.
Books or eReader? I used to be about 50/50 but recently I am drawn back in to books. I only read on my Kindle Paperwhite now if my husband wants to turn out the light before I am ready to stop reading.
Do you keep your books or pass them on? I have so many books that I do have to purge my shelves every so often. I also love to lend favorites to friends. While I love the solitary act of reading, I definitely want to talk about what I’ve read and sharing books is a great way to guarantee that happens.
Do you have a favorite place to read? The beach!
Do you have a favorite bookstore? I love, love, love The Curious Reader in Glen Rock, NJ. It is a children’s book store owned by a father and daughter. The store is managed on a day to day basis by Sally, the daughter, and Chris, Sally’s boyfriend. They have such an amazing wealth of knowledge about children’s literature. If I am having a bad day, I’ve been known to stop in to the store just to feel better about life.
I think I need to keep a scorecard for a couple of these questions, because I find it interesting how many of my interviewees answer certain questions the same. For instance, there are two camps regarding The Goldfinch – you either love it, or you don’t get it (and most seem not to finish it). You’re either a devotee of the classics, or you’re not (I’m not). We have Bird by Bird, Bossy Pants and reading at the beach in common. I didn’t really care for The Scarlet Letter – I felt so sorry for Hester. I also don’t remember very much about the classics I read in school, and fear that without the guidance of an English teacher I’d be lost with some (okay, most) of them. Although, I did just read Romeo and Juliet with Hunter and enjoyed it a lot more this time around (but I hurt my eyes from rolling them so much over the dramatics of young love). I digress, sorry. Oliver Kittredge is movie (TV?), I believe. I remember hearing the title over and over during award season, so I think you should check it out.
Thank you Stacey. I have so much fun reading these interviews and I love getting to know you better. Readers, please share you comments for Stacey below. You can follow Stacey at the following places:
If you’re interested in participating in the “Books of My Life” series, please email me.