Today we’re excited to announce July’s featured reader for our Page Turners of Jefferson County series, which asks a local resident to reflect on the role books and reading have played in his or her life.
Tanner Haid works for Cacapon Institute as the Urban Watershed Forester and assists communities throughout the Potomac Headwaters of West Virginia in assessing and enhancing urban tree canopy. He graduated from Shepherd University in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Tanner lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs in Charles Town and is a member of the Charles Town’s Historically HIP 2040 committee.
What book(s) are currently on your nightstand?
I’m currently reading Barsk by Lawrence M. Schoen. I recently finished A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. Underneath those, waiting to be read is Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I purchased all of these books to donate to the Charles Town Library once I’m finished reading them.
What genres do you especially enjoy reading?
My favorite genre of books is science fiction and fantasy. I gravitate towards this genre because I still believe in people’s ability to do the right thing and make a positive impact in a world that often pushes us in the other direction. If these fictional characters can stand up against all odds, when everything is against them, to do the right thing, well then just maybe so can I.
Where and when do you like to read best?
I like to read right before bed. Ever since our daughter was born this spring, I’ve been able to include that as part of her nightly ritual. We like to read right before she goes to sleep. She just started staring more at the pictures, so that’s been a lot of fun to watch her participate in reading.
Which book most impacted your career?
The book that most impacted my career was Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by E.O. Wilson. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but I remember really appreciating the idea that the sciences, as well as arts and humanities, are connected and that interdisciplinary research for solving complex problems should be pursued. I think it’s the same for humans. We have more in common with each other than we often realize, and we should foster those opportunities to come together.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
One of the coolest fictional characters I can think of is Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicles series by Patrick Rothfuss. She’s a minor character in the first two books of that series, but she was so cool and mysterious that Rothfuss wrote a whole book just about her, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. If anything, it created more questions than answers about who she really is, but that’s what makes her character so great!
What’s the last book you put down without finishing?
I’m stubborn when it comes to books. Even if I don’t really like what I’m reading, I make myself finish it just in case there’s a really spectacular plot twist at the very end. Or, in the case of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, the book doesn’t make sense until the very last couple of pages. If I had put it down, I wouldn’t have truly understood what the author was trying to get across with the story. I’m glad I finished it!
Which three authors (living or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? What would you ask them?
I’m not sure who I’d invite over for dinner when it comes to authors. I think I’d rather have dinner with some of their characters. Or better yet, join them for dinner in medieval Europe or on another planet. Now that’s a party!
What childhood memories about reading stick most in your mind?
My mom was a teacher, so every day in the summer we’d do chores around the house and then go swimming at the town pool in the afternoon. One of our chores was to read a book for a certain amount of time every day. It eventually turned from a chore into something I really enjoyed. In fourth grade, my teacher let me build a “secret” reading space in our classroom by piling up cardboard boxes and arranging a little area where I could read when I was done with my homework. Looking back on that, I guess it was pretty nerdy. At the time, I thought I was the coolest kid in class.
If you had to name a book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
I can’t say that there was ever one particular book that made me who I am today. I’d say it’s a culmination of everything I’ve read, fiction and non-fiction, that has helped turned me into the person I am. Every book has its lessons if you are willing to listen.
Which five books would you take with you on a desert island?
This is a hard one. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles Book 1), The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards Book 1), The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer Book 1), and A Sudden Light by Garth Stein are all wonderful books. I could only think of these because I’ve read them in the past couple of years and they were all great. Hopefully the Charles Town Library can begin collecting the Kingkiller Chronicles, Gentleman Bastards, and Lightbringer Series. All of these series have new books coming out in 2016/2017 that are going to be amazing!
Is there a book you’ve read & liked that you’re embarrassed to admit? Guilty pleasure?
When my wife and I first found out we were pregnant, I ordered several parenting books that were marketed for men so that I could learn about raising a baby. I was very embarrassed reading those books, but not for the reasons you might imagine. Most of them (not all), were so threadbare on information and so heavy on jokes that they weren’t informational in the least. They were written for that guy who wants to say he read a book about pregnancy, but in all honesty doesn’t want to actually expend any more effort than it takes to read the funny pages in a newspaper. I was embarrassed for all of the authors whose only way to share their knowledge on child rearing is to provide 1 page of solid information for every other 99 pages of jokes. We can do better than that, men!
What do you plan to read next?
The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards Book 4), The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (Song of Ice & Fire Book 6), and The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles Book 3) will hopefully be out in the next year or so. The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer #4) comes out on October 25th, 2016. In the meantime, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is on my nightstand.