Frannie Ashburn is a retired librarian and former director of the North Carolina Center for the Book.
Recommended read: “The Four Corners of the Sky” by Michael Malone. I recommend this delightful book for its fine, humorous storytelling, its warm-hearted depiction of unforgettable characters – the good, the bad, the eccentric and all combinations thereof – and for its subtle lessons in the many ways people learn to love and forgive. The mystery pulls the reader in to the story, but it’s the engaging characters and the fast-moving plot that keeps the pages turning.
Currently reading: “Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame) and “Dimestore: A Writer's Life” by Lee Smith. I’m savoring Smith’s warmth and liveliness as a good balance for Galbraith’s suspenseful crime novel.
What favorite book from childhood have you kept? I still have a hardback “Alice in Wonderland,” a gift from my paternal grandmother for my first Christmas when I was 5 months old. It was the first chapter book that I read when I graduated from picture books.
What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? “Heroic Measures” by Jill Ciment. It was recommended to me by a friend who is still the only person I know who’s read it. It’s wonderful.
Who or what taught you to love to read? My father was never without a book tucked into his coat pocket, on the dashboard of his car, in his office drawer, piled on his bedside table. He was a peripatetic reader – anywhere, anytime! I was read to as a child, given books at every gift-giving occasion, and got my own library card as soon as I was eligible, but it was my father’s example that I embraced.
What movie was better than the book? “The Prince of Tides” is ‘better’ than the book because it focuses on the core of Pat Conroy’s novel and tells that story more clearly than Conroy’s fabulous, endless, over-the-top prose. I recommend both book and film – although the dialect coach for the film missed that boat entirely. Bless his/her heart!
The Four Corners of the Sky
Sourcebooks Landmark, 560 pages