Trying out new reads pays off

Karen Collins is a former communications director at a healthcare company in Research Triangle Park.

Recommended read: The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah is a gripping story and a favorite read of my North Raleigh book club (aka “The Crew”). It’s a fictionalized account of events during WWII and focuses on two sisters just starting their adult lives in a small Nazi-occupied village in France. The sisters take very different approaches in confronting horrific and increasingly dangerous situations.

Currently reading:Dimestore: A Writer’s Life” by Lee Smith. This memoir was selected, by unanimous vote, for our book club discussion this month.

Who or what taught you to love to read? My love of reading stems from three major influences: my mother who taught me that books can transport you to amazing places, my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Sands, who introduced me to Bilbo Baggins and opened my eyes to the wondrous world of “The Hobbit,” and my adult friends who have shared their favorite books and challenged me to read things I may never have discovered on my own.

What is your favorite reading memory? Each summer we spend a week at the Outer Banks and I look forward to my bike rides to the Island Bookstore to secure a beach-read. This summer’s selection was “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss” by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. It was a book that I later shared with my adult son and, similar to the communication between the authors, the book sparked digital conversations between the two of us.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of?Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt. Published in 2013, the story takes place in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was unfolding. It’s a beautiful novel and because of my professional experience at a healthcare company involved in HIV research, it resonated with me.

What movie was better than the book? The movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was magical and brought the story to life in ways beyond my imagination. That being said, the audio book, with all the roles voiced by Jim Dale, is exceptional.

Where do you go for recommendations? I often start at the local bookstore and walk the aisles. Sometimes books that are displayed attract my attention. Other times I stumble upon a find on the shelf and am influenced by the jacket description and the first three paragraphs of the story. I also listen to NPR and talk with friends and family. Some of the best recent books have come from listening to reviews on the air and hearing the insights offered by the book authors.

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The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah

St. Martin's Press, 440 pages