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Man Reading - John Singer Sargent

Man Reading – John Singer Sargent

Tell us a little about yourself.    I am a 67 year old male, who holds both a BA as well as an MA degree from Marshall University (majoring in History and minoring in Geography and English), here in Huntington, WV.  I grew up in small-town WV where I did the usual small-town things as a boy (BSA, Little League, swimming, schools, etc.). I was an only child and as a result I was alone most of the time. I aquired my love of reading from my mother, who read anything and everything she could.  My father read three newspapers a day and he also read weekly news magazines, but I never saw him read a book, except for the World Book which he went thru volume by volume reading whatever took his interest.

I continue to work here at AAA, as a Membership Sales Mgr., where I am in my 30th year having been the original April Fool, coming to work here on April 1st, 1985.  I’ve also served on the adjunct faculty of Marshall University where I taught all manner of European History classes in the evenings.

If I have any hobbies, they would have to include walking in the local city park, Ritter Park, every morning, six days a week, with my friends.  We meet at 5:40 AM and we each walk different schedules, mine includes a 4 mile walk, before going home to the condo I share with my wife.  I live close to my daughter, her husband and their two children, a boy 9 and a girl 14 (going on 20).  As a result we spend a great deal of time doing grandchildren things, ball games, dance recitals, homework assignments, etc.

And I read!  History, biography, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, you name it, I’ve read it…even a bodice buster or three…

Please tell us about your reading habits and preferences.    I read anywhere from 70/75 books a year depending on their length (right now, I’m, starting all over again on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice”, and I’m part way through the first volume of ‘A Game of Thrones’.

I read anytime I can pick up a book, carrying one constantly. I tried the Kindle Fire, but I soon discovered that I need to have hands-on, actual books, in my grip. I get a lot of my reading materials from the local Cabell County Public Library, where I order from on line after reading my NYTBR weekly, Booklist, etc. I’ve been known to read 3 or 4 books at a time, but lately only 1/2/maybe 3, and that’s it.

My interests vary, obviously, and I enjoy reading many genres and with that advantage in mind, I read almost anything I can get my hands on, even the odd cereal box or two …  I buy non-fiction, history, biography, etc. and I borrow from the local library anything else.

What types of historical fiction do you prefer?    I obviously like history/biography/geography and as a result of my reading in all manner of time periods, I read historical fiction from all manner of time periods, ’cause I know about all manner of time periods …  I prefer historical accuracy, unless you tell me just where you bent the time to suit the action. I really like mysteries set in various time periods (Tey, Carr, Ellroy, etc.)

Do you have historical fiction books or authors you would recommend to other readers? Can you tell us why? I really like James Ellroy’s “Los Angeles Quartet” and his “Underworld Trilogy” not only for  the “noir” but for the history of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.

What advice do you have for writers of historical fiction?    Historical accuracy is very important to me, but I don’t mind a twist or three, if you tell me what you’ve done to make a better story.

Many thanks, Bill. From cereal boxes to bodice busters – quite the range in your reading! I’m amazed at how many books people read every year and that they often have multiple books on the go at any time. I haven’t heard of James Ellroy – will have to look him up.