Welcome to our weekly feature,
This week, we’d promised you an interview with Tony James Slater, author of “That Bear Ate My Pants!” Tony’s dear Granddad was hospitalized unexpectedly and Tony dropped everything to fly back to the U.K. and spend time with his grandfather. The good news is that Granddad is responding well to treatment and Tony probably will be with us next week. Please join me in sending prayers and positive thoughts their way!
In the meanwhile, we’re pleased to present this week the viewpoint of another reader, my friend of some thirty years, Cathy Cottle. Cathy and I both worked for the same social services agency for about ten years. Our career paths parted about twenty years ago, but not our friendship. Together, we’ve watched our daughters grow into adulthood and make us Grandmas 🙂 I’ve always admired Cathy for her wisdom, her wit, and her ferocious sense of humor, and I know for a fact that she’s a voracious reader! So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!
Were you an early reader and do you remember how old you were when you learned to read? I don’t recall reading before I started school, but I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember.
When you were a child, who or what encouraged you to read? Books and magazines were always plentiful in our home, as well as in the homes of my grandparents. Books were given to my siblings and me for holidays and birthdays, so our parents definitely encouraged reading!
What were your favorite books to read when you were a young child and why? As a teen, same question? As a child, I loved nursery rhymes and Bible stories. As a pre-teen, I was hooked on the Nancy Drew series, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Bobbsey Twins books. As a teen, I loved classics such as The Red Badge of Courage, Gone with the Wind, Tap Roots, The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, etc., and I discovered teen magazines, as well.
Did you ever write your own stories when you were a child? If so, what were the stories about and with whom did you share them? I recall writing more essays for school than stories. My sister is the writer in our family.
You’re a parent and a grandmother with another grandchild on the way very soon. Did you read to your daughter/do you read to your granddaughter or encourage them to read? What were/are your favorite stories to read to them? I read daily to my daughter when she was a child, and I read every chance I can to my granddaughter. Books are always included with holiday and birthday gifts. Nursery rhymes are still favorites, but my granddaughter loves books about sea life at this point in time. My daughter enjoyed the Golden Books and books on tape when she was a child.
You teach reading at the middle-school level in a public school. What can parents, schools, writers do to better encourage young people to read? Introduce them to books at infancy!! Ensure that they are reading about topics that interest them. Parents should encourage children to read to them, too, as well as to siblings and pets. Parents should be reading role models for their children, and all children should be introduced to the public library at a young age!
Where do you go to read? Do you have a special or quirky place where you are most comfortable reading? Generally, I read in my living room, although I am comfortable reading anywhere!
What are your favorite genres to read as an adult? I like mysteries, contemporary women’s fiction, historical fiction, and humor.
Who is/are your favorite author(s) and why? My old time favorites include Steinbeck, Dickens, Mark Twain. I just love a good storyteller! I recently reread (from my teen years) The Cay, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Current favorites include James Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman, Michael Connelly, Stuart Woods, Jodi Picoult, Dorothea Benton Frank, and an occasional Janet Evanovich. After teaching reading comprehension strategies all day, these days I tend to do light reading at home.
What most makes a book “good” to you – the plot, the characters, or the action? All of the above, although I think the character makes or breaks the book!
I know you have an e-reader. How long have you had it, what do you/don’t you like about it, and do you prefer reading paper or electronic books and why? I have a Kindle. I have had it for a couple of years now, and I love it! I take it with me most everywhere I go. I like it because I am never without reading material, and I can receive a new book instantly! I still like the feel of a book in my hand occasionally, but I am sold on my Kindle.
Please indicate from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest, what influences you most when you are shopping for a electronic book:
Title- 5 Cover- 5 Reviews and/or recommendations from friends- 2 Reading an excerpt- 2 Price- 2
If you read book reviews, what are your sources? The local newspaper.
What is the most you would pay for a fiction e-book?
Would you pay more for a non-fiction e-book? Yes, maybe, if it is for a class. What is the most you would pay? $30.00
You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival. What five authors (living or dead) are on your guest list? Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, Dr. Seuss, and if there is a bonus, I’d like to meet Harper Lee.
Biography of Cathy Cottle: I was born in Mississippi and grew up in the South, with the southern drawl and traditions. Both of my parents are still living, and I have an older brother and a younger sister. I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches,Texas, with a degree in Marketing, but I have spent my career working in the fields of social work and education, primarily with teens. When I am not with my family or at work, besides reading, I enjoy walking, babying my plants, attending the theater, and cheering for the New Orleans Saints.
Who dat?! 😉 Thanks, Cathy, for a great interview!