Page Turners

Page Turners: Brian Christopher

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Today we’re excited to announce September’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.

224098_bits_Brian_Christo3_2-1024x688Brian Christopher is a recent transplant to the Charles Town area and has quickly established a presence at the library. He frequently stops in to check out a ton of great reads, and we appreciate and enjoy his patronage! Brian describes himself as a, “life-long supporter of libraries, interesting stories and turning the next page.”

What book(s) are currently on your nightstand?

The Australia Stories by Todd James Pierce.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading?

Historical fiction, pulp fiction of the 1940s and 1950s (before they became too gruesome), non-stuffy biographies, American history, children’s books … oh, I guess, I have been grabbed by so many stories in so many genres that this is a very difficult question. So, almost anything, although I have never been a fan of bodice-rippers.

Where and when do you like to read best?

Here, now. I usually have a book on tape (or two) in the car for those trips of more than a few minutes and most rooms in our house have a least one set of bookshelves from which to pick something. It helps to have my daily projects out of the way before reading but I usually can’t wait that long.

Which book most impacted your career?

When I was in college, I read a book by David Hume Kennerly, a photojournalist. I was a freelancer for United Press International at the time, the same organization he had been working for when he won the Pulitzer Prize. I wanted to live his book, Shooter, and I still have the copy he signed for me when I met him in Houston, Texas (a long time ago).

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Atticus Finch would have to be in the top five, although Sherlock Holmes, every protagonist created by Raymond Chandler, Isaac Asimov’s Hari Seldon, and others of the same ilk are crammed onto the list as well. Oh, and of course, Winnie the Pooh and Frodo.

What’s the last book you put down without finishing?

A detective fiction by J.D. Robb (sorry, Nora).

Which three authors (living or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? What would you ask them?

Truman Capote: Do you regret trashing your life after the success of In Cold Blood? Also, did you really covet Harper Lee’s success as much as it seemed you did?

Edgar Allen Poe: What really were the things in your life that spawned such tales? Was there anything in the world that made you laugh?

Ernest Hemingway: So, Ernest, how much of all that macho stuff was an act? Your Nick Adams stories were some of your best and I thought they might be some of your favorites. Were they?

What childhood memories about reading stick most in your mind?

Sitting with my mother as she read to me from The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne. I learned to read from that book and I still own it. I was more than ready by the first day of kindergarten to devour what our small school library had to offer, from Dr. Seuss to the Hardy Boys (which I still love).

If you had to name a book that made you who you are today, what would it be?

It would actually be a secondhand set of books that was a collection of fiction for juvenile readers, from Irving to King Arthur to Poe and Hawthorne. Those inexpensive red books, probably about 30 in the set, opened doors in my mind I never knew existed. I wanted to learn, to experience, to explore, because of those books. Also, Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell. It is one of his lesser known works but a great example of reportage that helped me in my later work as a reporter.

Which five books would you take with you on a desert island?

The Hobbit, To Kill a Mockingbird, anything by John Dunning (rare book dealer/detective), a really long book with hints about surviving on an island, and yes, The World of Pooh; the final discussion between Pooh and Christopher Robin as the young boy is preparing to leave for school is one of my favorite passages in all of literature.

Is there a book you’ve read & liked that you’re embarrassed to admit? Guilty pleasure?

Any and all of the books I’ve read by Stephen King. In between the goo and ghastly happenings is actually some rather good writing. I know that sounds a little snobby but I tend to skip some of the overly creepy parts to read his dialog and minimalist descriptions. Hearts of Atlantis has some wonderfully thoughtful portions spiced with some confusing and cheap bits but it still is a pleasure to read.

And graphic novels. (But don’t tell anyone…)

What do you plan to read next?

I don’t know. Do you have any suggestions?

Categories: Page Turners

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