Portrait of a Reader: Becky H.

Portrait of a Reader Becky H




Welcome, Becky! Please start by introducing us to yourself and your family. 

My name is Becky Hurst. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and attended Grove City College (where I graduated with a BA in Mathematics, which I promptly never used!!). I am married (33 years) and have a 25 year old son with special needs, who lives with us. I have lived all over the United States, starting in Dallas, TX, then Minneapolis, then Dallas again, then Chicago, Denver, Louisville KY and now in Dedham, MA. I try to be content (and happy) where I am. After 17 years in Louisville, New England is quite a challenge. I love people and getting to know new friends. David, my son, and I have been exploring New England this last year (mainly on his days off of work – he works at Whole Foods) and have discovered many beautiful and wondrous places.

And can I just tell you? Becky and I connected over books over 20 years ago in Dallas, lost touch, the reconnected through twitter almost three years ago. She went with me on my research trip for At Every Turn and was so much help! So Becky, when did you first come to identify yourself as a “reader”? What do you most enjoy reading? Do you consider yourself a casual reader, a sporadic reader, a serious reader or an all-out bibliophile?

I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t reading! I had an older sister and 4 cousins across the street, the oldest was 8 years older then me and became a teacher. I was one of his first students. He taught me to read with the Dick Jane and Sally text books. This opened up a whole new world to me. I read constantly while growing up, starting with Dr. Seuss, moving on to Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. My mom used to have to make me go out and play! We would visit the Book Mobile every Monday in the summer and I would get as many books as they would allow. And this love of books has continued my entire life.

Ah, I loved those summer library trips, leaving with a stack so tall I could barely hold them all.  So tell us, what do you most enjoy reading?

I read pretty much all kinds of books. I read fiction, Christian authors like Eugenia Price (Margaret’s Story is one of my favorites) loved Grace Livingston Hill books as a young adult, Brock and Bodie Thoene, and of course Anne Mateer! I also enjoy thrillers: my favorite is Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series (where Gabriel is an Israeli assassin) Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and epics like the Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. I enjoy the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich as fun, laugh out loud reads. I was in a book club in Louisville and read some books that I would not have picked up that I absolutely loved: The Red Tent, Peace Like a River, State of Wonder. Then there are biographies and memoirs: Lindbergh by Scott Berg was a favorite as is John Adams, and Truman. And then there is the fantasy realm, loved The Hunger Games trilogy and my family listened to the entire Harry Potter series while driving back and forth from Louisville to Pittsburgh or Louisville to Colorado. They were an awesome listen! I am in a book club here that reads YA books which is opening up a whole new realm of reading for me.

Margaret’s story is awesome! So many of these book and authors I love, too. And hubby has been thrilled with your thriller recommendations! 🙂 What is the last book you finished and what are you currently reading?

The last book I finished was “The English Girl” by Daniel Silva, which we listened to on a recent driving trip to Pittsburgh. I am currently reading “A Home for my Heart” by Anne Mateer, “The Search for Wondla” by Tony DeTerlizzi (for my YA book club) and I am starting “Catcher in the Rye” for my new adult book club.

I love that you have several books going at once. I used to never do that. Now it is my “norm.” Do you have a favorite time and place to read?

I like to read any time I have the chance! And anywhere there is enough light!

And so when you have a good book light (or your ipad!), then everywhere is a reading place and every time is right! What is the most unusual circumstance/place in which you’ve been found reading?

The most unusual place that I read a book would have to be the cafeteria at the Winter Park Ski Resort in Winter Park CO. When David was younger he took ski lessons at the National Sports Center for the Disabled. During his lunch break, we would sit in the cafeteria and I would read aloud to him. The Great Brain series was a favorite (by John Dennis). Pretty much everyone in the surrounding tables would be listening in!

What a fun memory! And a fun series of books, too. Love the Great Brain! Do you read physical books, ebooks, or both? 

I read physical books, ebooks and listen to audio books. Just depends on the circumstance. (When I travel I love my ipad, but also love to hold a book and I love shopping at my local bookstore!)

Yay for shopping at bookstores! I know you love them as much as I do, so the next question seems a little bit superfluous  but I’ll ask anyway: Do you buy your books, borrow them from friends or check them out of the library? (Or all of the above!)

I usually buy my books – again, there is nothing better then exploring a local, independent bookstore. And asking for local books by local authors and just talking to the employees.

Another area where we are similar! Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that generally accompany your reading?

A cup of hot tea to goes well with all books. And if it’s cold out, a nice fire in the fireplace.

Yes, on the fireplace, though I’ll usually pick a latte over hot tea. Finally, it’s true confessions time: have you ever forgotten something important (to fix dinner or that dinner was in the oven or an appointment, etc) because you were lost in the pages of a book? 

Haven’t forgotten anything important, but I have stayed up all night to finish a book. Which of course causes Zombie like reactions the next day! Also, my friends will tell you that I always read the end of the book after finishing the first few chapters because I need to make sure my favorite characters are ok, or prepare myself if they aren’t.

Oh, so you are one of those readers! I’d probably lower my stress level when reading if I’d read the end, but I just can’t make myself do it. I like surprises too much, I guess! 

Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of yourself with us today, Becky. I love that I get to introduce one of my long time friends to some of my newer ones!

Happy Reading, Y’all! 

20 comments on “Portrait of a Reader: Becky H.

  1. I have to agree with Becky on the need to read the end!! Thankfully it has become the norm to include a Reader Discussion section, so I read that instead of skipping ahead to the end. So glad there are “others” out there that do it as adults!

  2. Great interview! No matter how big we think our world is, it gets smaller everyday by examples like this. We know Becky loves to read and the tea and the fireplace sound wonderful. No, I would not read the end of the book, but I must say I have been tempted!

    • Love your user name, Nancy! 🙂

      And yes, the amount of people we know these days stretches so wide, that sometimes it is nice to bring it back down to learning little things about another person. I’m glad you put it like that!

  3. In addition to reading a wonderful story about Becky, I enjoyed reading about the great friendship between two woman who reconnected after many years. Thank you for sharing this story. I also love going into book stores when I’m not rushed and taking my time looking around. It is such a peaceful time.

  4. Becky,

    What a wonderful Portrait of a Reader interview! When I read it I realized you are so much like your dear Aunt Alice! She too read books with the passion that you described. She would be especially tickled to know you as a “fellow reader”. 🙂

    XOXO, Cousin, Veronica

    (not part of the 4 across the street, but of the other 35 cousins on Dad’s side…ha ha!)

    • I did not know that about Aunt Alice! I know Aunt Mary loved to read, we often talked books when I saw her. She and Aunt Alice probably shared their books! Hope all is well with you. And yes, another cousin!! I love all of you!

  5. I loved reading about Becky! I felt I was right in the room eavesdropping on your conversation. Her last confession intrigued me – reading the ending after a few chapters. I NEVER do that, but I wonder if people do that with my books. Interesting.

  6. Ann, Thank you for introducing us to Becky. She sounds like a delightful person. I know you had fun times when the two of you we’re together. Friends and fun just go together!

        • You guys are sweet. Thanks for all the kind words. Carla, I need to read your books & will let you know if I read the end first! Melanie, Anne & I had such a nice time together. Britney, I hope you enjoy those books. And Cheryl, love you my friend. Anne, thanks so much for including me. So much fun answering the questions. Now, back to my books.

      • Great reading about my friend Becky. I don’t get reading the end, I NEVER do that, it’s cheating lol. I also love to read & as my grandmother would say, you can travel anywhere and imagine what the characters look like & it’s a whole different world.

Comments are closed.