I was recently directed to a website where they profile authors by asking 10 questions in a segment they call "Long Story Short". So, I thought I'd try my hand at answering...
1. The person who helped me fall in love with reading was: My mother. Mom didn’t read herself but she always encouraged my writing ability and suggested I should read to discover how the pros told stories. It was good advice then, and still is.
2. One book I love to give as a gift is: How do I answer this without coming off like a braggart? But here’s the answer: so many people have told me they’ve benefited from reading my book “Why Being Happy Matters” that giving away an autographed copy seems OK.
3. If I could write like one other author, it’d be: Charles Dickens (see next question).
4. One book I think deserves more attention is: “A Tale of Two Cities” because: From that wonderfully engaging “It was the best of times...” opening, so cleverly settling up the duality of the story, to the “it is a far, far greater rest I go to” profundity at the close, it’s a masterpiece.
5. The friends I always turn to for reading recommendations are: my wonderful Beta Readers Group because they represent an intelligent cross-section of informed consumers.
6. If I’m not enjoying a book, I... discard it. No book warrants my time if the author can’t engage me with the story. Or worse, is too poor at the job of writing well to earn the respect of my time.
7. One book that absolutely shocked me was: “Educated” by Tara Westover. To think that someone suffering physical and emotional abuse and who doesn’t even achieve a high school education could end up with a Cambridge University PhD is... shocking.
8. My favorite place to read is: On a beach or in bed. Relaxing is a huge part of reading for me (time away from the madding crowd).
9. If I could only read one book for the rest of my life, it’d be: Can’t imagine the horror of having to do that, but the winner would be the aforementioned “A Tale of Two Cities” (which I actually re-read every four or five years).
10. The book I’m currently reading is: Doris Kearns Goodwins’ “Leadership in Turbulent Time’s”, as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s new one “Talking to Strangers” and “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” by Aussie author Bronnie Ware.