Retired IBMer can list 30 years’ worth of books

Mary Fallon came to the Triangle from Buffalo, N.Y., 20 years ago with IBM. She has since retired and enjoys many activities, including reading. She has kept track of every book she has read since 1986, noting title, author, and date read. In later years, she started adding a note about the story and whether she would re-read or recommend the book.

Recommended read: A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson, a companion novel to her “Life After Life” about a British family in WWII.

Currently reading:Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What favorite book from childhood have you kept? My favorite “Golden” book from childhood was “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” by Kathryn and Byron Jackson. I have since read it to my kindergarten friends and once again fell in love with the story. “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens was the first hardcover book I ever owned, a gift from my Uncle Billy and still on my shelf. I was so proud to wade through Dickens’ 500 pages. We were library people, so owning a hardcover book was special.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of?Away” by Jane Urquhart.

Who or what taught you to love to read? My mother gave me the gift of reading. She always had a book at her side, and we made weekly visits to the library all our lives. My favorite reading memory also involves my mother. I made the mistake of leaving Jack Finney’s “Time and Again” on the kitchen table when I went off to work. When I returned at the end of the day, she was not only reading it – she was farther along than I had been! I was jealous of her retirement reading options, but also happy we could share a good read.

Where do you go for book recommendations? I rely on my fellow reading friends, the newspaper of course, “The New Yorker,” and NPR. My reader friends and I watch to see when our favorite authors are coming out with something new and frequently give gifts of “must reads.” I’d be interested to know what readers learn from seeing an author in person. Being from Buffalo, I read Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies” in my Buffalo accent and remember being shocked at her Southern twang.

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A God in Ruins

Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown and Co., 480 pages