Meet December Reader of the Month: Christa Palm
Christa is a middle-grade author, writer, editor, mom, wife, cat-grandma and storyteller. She enjoys baking, gardening, writing, reading, volunteering and spending time with her family. Currently, Christa is developing an AmeriCorps preschool storytime outreach program at Carnegie-Stout Public Library. She is also submitting her first middle-grade novel, “Jorie’s Story,” to publishers.
Q & A:
Q. What can you tell us about your reading interests in general?
A. In general, I love to read classics, literature, and middle-grade literature. I gravitate toward novels that make me think about human nature and how the human condition does not seem to change over the course of history, with the same elements of political upheaval and discrimination continuously appearing as themes in the fabric of our human lives.
However, all that said, I have been reading a lot of middle-grade literature recently to help me strengthen the middle-grade novel that I wrote. So, most of the books that I have read in the last year are middle-grade novels. For any adult who wants a quick read that still challenges your thoughts about humanity, check out the middle-grade literature section.
Q. What is the best book you have read within the last year (or ever)?
A. The best book I re-read in the last year is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I have read it four times in my life, and each time that I read it, I discovered new aspects about life, community, bravery, and integrity. Harper Lee’s choice of featuring Scout as a narrator allows readers to discover so much about childhood, coming of age, and the mistakes that adults make that children intrinsically understand to be wrong.
Q. What is your ideal reading environment (location, sound, snacks, etc.)?
A. I love curling up on the sofa with a good book, lots of blankets, my two grand-kitties, and a cup of oolong tea.
Q. What book are you most excited about reading next, and what about it is most exciting?
A. I am most excited about reading “Gangster in Our Midst” by Betty Brandt Passick. It is an Indie novel about a small-town Iowa man who is “a bookkeeper, lieutenant and sometimes hitman for Al Capone.” My new book idea is set in Dubuque in the late 1920s to 1930s, and reading a local author’s take on the same time period is very exciting to m
Q. What book do you think more people should read, and why do you think they should read it?
A. I recently challenged myself to read Tolstoy, and I flew through “Anna Karenina.” The names are challenging, but the story is engrossing, particularly the ideas of how and why we stigmatize members of society through the ages. It was fascinating to me to place myself in the late 1800s and see that not too much about humanity has changed over the years.
Q. What book has been the most challenging for you to read? How did it challenge you?
A. Despite the fact that I read “Anna Karenina” quickly, I am struggling to read the second half of “War and Peace.” In the past six months, I tried to read four different versions, and I finally settled on the Guttenberg version on my Kindle: it is a much more accessible translation.
Q. When do you decide to stop reading a book? In other words, do you read every book to the last page or is there a moment when you decide to stop?
A. There have been very few books that I decided to stop reading in my life. I almost always continue to read even if the pages are dull or the story silly. In my experience, there is almost always some takeaway from reading a terrible novel…like how not to write a terrible novel.
Q. Do you remember when your love for reading began?
A. I have loved reading my entire life, but my favorite memories of reading were in third grade, when I discovered that reading can open up your mind to a greater understanding of the world. I began to read everything I could, including cereal boxes, so my mom brought me to the second floor of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library every Saturday in the 1980s and 1990s to check out all of the novels I could carry. I’d curl up at home with book upon book and beg to go back to the library for more books way before Saturday rolled around.