Reader Interview is a popular feature on this blog. Here is a next installment. Thanks to Bernie Mainzer for sharing her thoughts as a reader. She’s easy and enjoyable to listen to as she tells us about some of the books she loves. She grabs your attention with her enthusiasm for reading!

Tell us about the books you have been reading.

I have read mysteries, summer beach reads, historical fiction and non-fiction. I belong to a book club and we try to read different genres.

It sounds like you read more genres than many of us. Do you have a favorite writer? Who are some of the best writers you have read?

I have read several by Elin Hilderbrand. I just finished Beautiful Day. Interesting about a very emotional family, with dysfunctional siblings, parents, and friends. A good read. I also like Lianne Moriarty, Big Little Lies. Lianne tends to write about teachers in Australia and being a teacher, I can relate to several of her problems in the books. Erik Larson – great for drama & Nora Ephron, when I need a smile on my face.

What genres do you especially enjoy? Which do you avoid?

I really like Historical Fiction & and mysteries. Not science fiction or fantasy so much. (But I loved Harry Potter. Could not get enough of them!!)

Yes, that series was phenomenal, wasn’t it? How do you decide what to read?

Book club dictates what I read monthly – more thoroughly to discuss in group. But I choose light fiction, or mysteries when I’m in a mood to think things out and solve a mystery. If I’m in a low mood, then I choose Nora Ephron. She is wonderful – I Feel Bad About My Neck – is especially fun. I choose books browsing bookstores, and from recommendations from friends. Also Best Seller Lists & newspaper suggestions.

Are there books we would be surprised to find on your shelves?

Maybe cookbooks by Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, Ina Garten, etc.

Please share the title of books that come to mind as especially meaningful in your life.

On the Night You Were Born – Nancy Tillman. A beautiful book that describes how important it was on the night a child was born and how the animals all danced for joy. Stunning and meaningful to a toddler & Grandma.

Also, Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH. Read it to my 6th graders when I was teaching and they loved it. We did many writing & drawing exercises with the scenes and discussed so many topics. Super great book.

What book did you feel you were supposed to like, but did not. Perhaps, a book that disappointed you. Why?

Gone Girl, for sure. Heard a lot about it, so we as a club decided to read it. Found it to be about two dysfunctional characters. I did not care what happened to them and that did it for me. A waste of time.

When is the last time a book truly excited you?

I really liked The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Great book – and loved the style of writing. Heard the author in a lecture series and was quite impressed by him.

Tell us a bit about your reading habits: when, where, how, why do you like to read?

I read a lot since retirement. Have always been a reader – usually have 2-3 books going at one time. I am a retired reading teacher and read to my sixth graders books by A.A. Milne, Robert O’Brien (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and all sequels), J.K. Rowling, (Harry Potter), and all forms of primary & intermediate children’s literature. We read all of them and the children loved them. I now have a 2 year old grandson, and we read Sandra Boynton, A.A. Milne, Peek-A-Boo books, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle (one of his favorites), Dr. Seuss…way too many to tell.

Where? I read on a couch, on the deck, in bed, near the fireplace, almost anywhere. I love hard-cover books, but own a Nook and take it with me on trips. Just returned from a river cruise through Germany & France and took the Nook. Used it on the bus, ship, and just sitting on a bench on the Champs Elysees Concorde. Good times.

Wish we had pictures of all the great places to read you must have encountered while on your European trip! Tell us more about yourself as a reader.

I think I have just become comfortable with reading what I want to read and not what is expected of me to read. I enjoy books that do not have excessive amounts of descriptions, but more dialogue. I also like to imagine the characters as real people I can relate to – such as Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, etc. I am right brain, for sure, and it makes the book more enjoyable for me.

What do you plan to read next? And why?

I am reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. Now on p. 50. It is a book club selection by another member. Jury is still out on this one.

Another one I’m reading now is Elizabeth Adler’s Meet Me in Venice, good mystery.

Note from Paulette: I expect blog readers enjoyed Bernie’s insights as much as I did. She prompts me to think more about why I like certain books and why others interest me less.


  1. Susan Carter

    Enjoyed the interview immensely – it’s always so interesting to to read about what, why & when others read.

  2. Dave Hall

    I really enjoyed Bernie’s interview. I have read some of her favorites It’s interesting to hear other readers’ views. Dave


Leave a Reply