Reader Interview with Seglinda Kelle-Pritchard, Franklin, MI
Conducted August/September, 2014

Another in the continuing series of ReadEatLive Reader Interviews. Thanks to good friend and fellow reader Seglinda for her reader insights and reading choices.

Tell us about what you are reading.
Our women’s book club has been reading a book written by a friend of our church community, Rev. John Bush, a former interim minister from Birmingham, AL. His book, Rebels and Patriots, is about a little-known group of Patriots from the northern Alabama area who were supportive of the Union Army and the challenges this identity gave to their families and communities. It is told in a simple, vernacular style, which however is very engaging and endearing. I have also begun the new work of fiction by Joseph O’Neill, The Dog, which is deliciously written and humorous in its eloquence. Can’t wait to devour it further.

Did you have a favorite book this past year?
Never one to feel pinned down to one choice, I will suggest two books that share parallels in thought. Liars’ Gospel by the British author Naomi Alderman and Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, the renowned Irish writer. These two novels are based on historical characters with whom nearly all readers are familiar; however, these two bring new understanding and humanizing of their characters, pulling them away from their mythology. The abilities of these two authors to deepen my insights into their characters will forever be appreciated.

Do you have a genre that you read more often than others?
I select books that have a spiritual dimension, as opposed to a religious one, underpinning their themes. I think this began when I was a member of a wonderful book club (now deceased) with women from Christ Church Cranbrook, and we made it a practice to select books with a spiritual backdrop to enhance our understanding of the world’s cultural values. A couple of recent books that have been outstanding illustrations would be The Tenth Parallel by Eliza Griswold about the clash of Islam and Christian cultures that are heightened within the boundaries of the 10th parallel of the globe. Another would be Karen Elliott House’s excellent and informative On Saudi Arabia. As a former editor for the WSJ and based in this bewildering nation, she was given unusual access into all aspects of this closed culture throughout her many years of coverage for the Journal.

Why do you read?
I have to say that I DO NOT read for entertainment. I LIKE to be entertained and that would be a plus, but I read for insight and knowledge.

One of my favorite books that never ceases to make my heart beat faster is Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I have read it a minimum of 4Xs and each time it demands that I re-think the ending to determine what actually happened! Oh, I almost forgot another favorite: Jim Crace’s Quarantine–PLEASE read this book. Both are prize-winners.

Tell us anything about your reading habits you would like for us to know.
Several friends have asked for suggestions on books that have been pivotal in helping to SHAPE us to be the people who we are…….here goes:
War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges
Hidden Gospel by Neill Douglas Klotz ( an Aramaic scholar)
Travels with Herodotus and the Shadow of the Sun by the Polish journalist Rysvard Kapuscinski
• The architectural books of Christopher Alexander: The Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building
• Any of the books by Karen Armstrong, especially Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
Noah’s Garden by Sara Stein
Tao te Ching by LaoTzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzburg

Seglinda, I admire you as a reader for several reasons. One particularly striking reason is that you are direct and clear in your reading choices, unapologetic and brave. Thank you for encouraging me as a reader with suggestions and loans. And thank you for sharing some of your reading choices with readeatlive/blog readers.

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