Saturday, April 17, 2021

Jo Ann Joy Beard wants to write an essay nonfiction

How do you organize your books?

Alphabet by author for fiction and non-fiction, and by discipline for art books. For books that have not yet made it to the library, the tables are stacked OCD-style by size, with their edges to the right or left, depending on the size.

What book can people be surprised to see on your shelves?

I have a lot of books about the training of dogs whose dogs are not trained.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

EB White, one of our great American essayists, was given an audiobook of “Charlotte’s Web”. I was remembering it as a child, so the story was new to me. The honesty and humor of White’s reading voice, along with the memories I had of Midwestern Farms and the doomed animals I knew as a child … well. I still remember where I was, dragged on the highway between home and work, when it came to the moment Charlotte died.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?

I constantly, wonderfully read, as if I am actively living my life. It was a lot of fun, on those Saturdays my mother would come home from a yard sale, which contained a box of random books for us. In those boxes I finally found Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Mary O’Hara, Jack London, Albert Passon Terune. Leading to a lifelong love of dogs and horses and rowdy boys.

How has your reading taste changed over time?

Reading as a writer, I am more interested in how graphic novels and memoirs work their magic. David Small’s “stitches” are a master class in using both internal and external silence to express emotion and meaning.

You are organizing a literary dinner party. Which three authors, dead or alive, invite you?

Charles Dickens, Jane Austin and Scott Spencer.

Disappointed, overrated, just not good: Did you like the book as you wanted, no more? Do you remember the last book you kept without finishing it?

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