Friday Friends: Booklovers: Michelle Murray

Happy #FridayFriends! I am featuring Booklovers this month: #HumansWhoLoveBooks.  Today I am delighted to introduce you to my cousin, Michelle Murray. Hi, Michelle!


1. What are you reading right now?

Rasputin’s Shadow by Raymond Khoury (literally right now as I got this [message].) It’s the fourth book in a series featuring FBI agent Sean Reilly and a pseudo-historical conspiracy. Similar vein as Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Only on chapter 8, so don’t know exactly what’s going on yet.

2. What did you read last?

Just did a binge read of Harlan Coben’s young adult series featuring Mickey Bolitar, nephew of his adult series’ Myron Bolitar. Similar style, but simpler read with less complexity.

3. What book has most influenced you?

Hmmmmm… That’s a toughie, but probably something I read as a kid like Charlotte’s Web or Black Beauty. Books that fed my love of reading at a young age.

4. How many books did you read last year?

Not a whole lot really. The past few years I tend to go in fits and starts with books. So there are times when I go months with out reading any books and then follow up with reading voraciously for a few months. Generally speaking, I tend to do more reading around Christmas time as a result of hitting the bookstores looking for gifts for my parents (including a few books I will then borrow when they’ve read them.) Timing wise you lucked out that I just hit a book binge phase.

5. What book would you recommend for your younger self?

A book for my younger self… Well, my older self loved the Harry Potter series, so I can only imagine what kind of thrills I would have had reading those when I was 10 or so. Woulda had some serious late nights with the flashlight under the covers and grumpy mornings! There’s also Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy which would have been great reading for high school history classes (despite being insanely long!) It follows several families of characters in England, Germany, Russian, and the US from pre WWI through to the 1980s. I actually need to get back to reading the final book. Got started on it ages ago, but got busy with other things and haven’t gotten back to it. It’s the kind of book you want to set aside a couple of days where you can just sit and read uninterrupted. And since each book is 800 or so pages, you kind of need a lot of free time!

6. What book have you disliked?

I absolutely hated As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Like your previous interviewee who disliked Tess of the D’Urbervilles (which I enjoyed), it was an assigned reading for school. In fact, it was assigned summer reading for AP English between my junior and senior years of high school. I think I literally threw the book across the room a couple of times because I hated it so much and it was ruining my summer. It’s not a very long book — maybe 200 pages or so — about a family traveling across the country by wagon. It’s a stream of consciousness style book and every chapter was told from the viewpoint of a different character. Fortunately I had friends who suffered similarly that summer, so now 30+ years later all we need to say to each other is “my mother is a fish” (literally an entire chapter) to set of a series of both laughter and disdain in an instant. Totally turned me off
Faulkner and I’ve refused to read anything else he wrote. I’d rather read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce again, and that book was painful to read.

7. Do you prefer a genre?

Most of my reading these days would fall into the “genre” classification (rather than say, “literature”.) I tend to stick to mystery/suspense or fantasy for the most part with some popular fiction (e.g. Ken Follett above) thrown in. Brain candy for the most part. I haven’t read much of what my mom and I call “sitting up books” lately. “Sitting up books” are ones you need to be alert and concentrate on and are more serious in style or content than things you read while falling asleep on the couch.

It’s really been awhile since I’ve read anything challenging, which I attribute to just being mentally fried from work and day to day activities. I’ve tried periodically to read more “serious” stuff, but I find I can’t hold my concentration.

8. A popular book is becoming a film. Do you read the book first, or see the movie first?

It depends on the book/movie. I don’t see a ton of movies these days, so it’s entirely possible that something comes out that’s based on a book but I’m not aware of it. If I do know the book AND am interested in seeing the movie, I will try to read the book first. I did that with the Lord of the Rings series, though in that case I was having the hardest time getting through the first book, that it took watching the first half of the movie (which was about as far as I had read) to get me to fly through the rest of the books. I’m not sure what about seeing what I had read jolted the system, but I’m glad it did.

9. What would be the title of your life story?

Not a clue. That’s not something I’ve ever really thought about.

10. What is one thing you have learned from books?

Probably empathy. By reading as much as I have over my life and finding emotional connections with fictional characters, it makes it much easier to connect on the human scale in reality.

11. Is there a book that you once loved, but can’t stand anymore?

None that I can think of.

12. Is there anything you would like to add?

Two things. First, I think it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to read to kids and give kids books. My parents really encouraged me to read from an early age and some of my fondest memories are of Grandma reading to me as a little girl.

Second, I am putting together a list of all the books I read in high school so I can read them again as an adult (with the obvious exception of As I Lay Dying.) After JD Salinger died a I went back and re-read Catcher in the Rye and it was interesting coming at it from an adult perspective. I’ll have to work back in to reading shape for some of them though as the language and style are so very different than the contemporary stuff I generally read. I love Charles Dickens, but have had the hardest time trying to re-read some of his books because I’m so out of practice with the language. Will have to start with some of the 20th century lit we read back then.


Thanks, Michelle!

Have YOU read any of the books Michelle mentioned?  What did you think?




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