Who I am

I'm a second-year law student studying in my home region, the American South.  Rather than spending all my time on courses like many of my counterparts, I read novels and nonfiction in my spare time to stay sane.  I decided to start the blog both because my friends so often ask me for book recommendations and because my friend Mary over at Charlottesville Theater Review encouraged me to resurrect an old book review blogI kept on MySpace (when MySpace was cool).

The big gap (2008 - 2011)

The financial crisis and subsequent decision to go to law school (what with 23 applications, LSAT studying and doing all this behind my boss's back) obliterated my free time; not to read, but to blog.  I worked in finance in New York City for two and a half years, and then retreated back to my ancestral homeland to study the law when I decided on a career in public defense.  I am trying to catch up and recommend some of the books I read in those lapsed years.

My favorite types of books

Contemporary literary fiction, especially American short stories, are my true love.  I love contemporary novels as well, and am trying to expand beyond America and Britain into Africa, continental Europe, and Asia.  You'll find reviews of nonfiction here too, mostly popular history and science, and some books about current events, the drug war, and criminal justice.  I've recently read a ton of mystery novels and true crime, so that latest phase will be reflected on the blog as well. 

Why I love to read: My family

A collection of Christies followed Dad's original rec.
My late father, an attorney, voracious reader, and history buff who passed away when I was 15, used to take me to the bookstore every week after we attended church.  He let me pick out whatever I wanted until my shelves were stuffed full with R.L. Stine's Fear Street series, and he worried that my development as a consumer of quality literature could be hampered.  So he took me on a special trip to the bookstore (which is now, to my chagrin, a Starbucks, no longer the beautiful indie), and bought me a copy of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  He considered it the perfect bridge between young adult fiction (I also loved Lois Lowry's Anastasia series and everything by Judy Blume) and his next picks for me, which included To Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, and Rudyard Kipling's Kim. 

My dad never got to finish his bookish education, but I gained a community of support after his death that included people who wanted me to develop as a reader (and, maybe someday, as a writer) who suggested books I might not learn about in school or from my peers, like the works of Richard Yates, James Salter, and Ernest J. Gaines.  Of course I found additional books to love through high school and college courses, and am lucky to have a surviving literary parent (she introduced me to Somerset Maugham and Theodore Dreiser) and a sister who works in book publicity and keeps me up-to-date on new and exciting authors.

Why I have to read: My illness
Here's someone who loves it when I'm stuck inside
Another reason I love to read?  I couldn't go outside much as a child.  Around the age of 6, I started having terrible symptoms year-round, including asthma attacks, anaphylaxis, long spells of fatigue and extreme weakness, and monstrous headaches.  It turns out I have a rare breed of allergies that requires lots of medication year-round, as well as extreme measures like high doses of oral steroids in the spring.  This condition, though it's gotten a bit easier to control with expensive immunotherapy to target my excess white blood cells, keeps me inside a good bit, and always has.  Being a book lover and a writer (of journals, unpublished short stories, and this blog) has kept me sane, amused, even happily hermitic when everyone else runs outside to enjoy the spring.