Portrait of a Reader: Rachel M.

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

I am a small-town Canadian girl who moved to Toronto for university and stayed. I now work in Educational publishing and, on the side, am a freelance reader/reviewer for several places including Breakpoint and Novel Crossing.

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Rachel is a sweetheart that I met online. I’d love to get to Toronto one of these days and meet her face-t0-face! When did you first came to identify yourself as a reader, Rachel? Do you consider yourself a casual reader, a sporadic reader, a serious reader or an all-out bibliophile? 

I am an all-out bibliophile. I suppose I first ascertained this love when  I was in grade 2 and an assignment was to read a book aloud to a family member. I read Black Beauty—a chapter a night—to my mom.

I love that! What a great memory and a great way to start on the road to loving books. What do you most enjoy reading now?

I have such a varied taste. I’m a die-hard fan of the Victorian period so Charles Dickens is a favourite. A few authors I never miss are Martha Grimes, Lynn Austin, Scott Lynch and Ian Rankin. I love historical fiction and have read Patrick O’Brian’s books to within an inch of their life. My favourite books of all time are Les Miserables, The Blue Castle (by LM Montgomery) and Great Expectations

And this is why we are friends! Dickens, Les Miserables, The Blue Castle–sigh. What is the last book you finished and what are you currently reading?

I just finished The Thief by Stephanie Landsem and it was AMAZING.  I reached the half-way point of Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell on the subway today.

I really want to read The Thief, especially after seeing you gush about it on social media! I have Stephanie’s first book waiting and just haven’t made it there yet.  And I just finished Love Comes Calling. Do you have a favorite time and place to read? 

I can tune out the world and read anywhere. But I love reading when I visit my parents up north. They live in a lake-side down and I love taking a few books down to the shore.

Reading at the shore sounds lovely. Of course! So what is the most unusual circumstance/place in which you’ve been found reading?

I got caught reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom in grade 7 French class. I was told I could silently read until the end of the period since my English assignment was done and I hadn’t noticed that French class had begun.  I can’t think of a time in my life I haven’t had a book on me: so I have literally read everywhere.

I know what you mean. And The Hiding Place is definitely a book that captures you in its pages so that you don’t notice the world around you. Do you read physical books, ebooks, or both?

As a book reviewer, it is FAR easier for publishing companies to send e-books now –especially because I live in Canada. I used to have a problem with deadlines or books being late and feeling rushed to get my reviews up on time so for this purpose it is handy to read on my Kindle. Especially for ARCs and pdfs.  My personal choice? Physical books. I own 12 copies of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette: numerous editions. I’m pretty hard-core when it comes to book collecting.

Book collecting is awesome! Having ebooks has allowed me to be a little more selective in the physical books I buy and keep. Do you buy your books, borrow them from friends or check them out of the library? (Or all of the above!)

I do it all!  I like to donate the books I receive from publishers to a church library, so often, to support an author I really like, I’ll still buy a physical copy for my library. I borrow from friends and because I am working on a historical novel of my own, the Toronto Public Library and its archives are invaluable. I try to read about five books a week (practice makes perfect and I have been reading voraciously forever 😉 ) so it helps to have a myriad of ways to get hold of books.

Five books a week! Wow! I know that is part of your “job,” but still–that’s amazing! Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that generally accompany your reading?

I drink a lot of tea. A lot! Sometimes if I am reading a book that mentions a certain food or beverage, I crave it. For example, one of Tamera Leigh’s heroines was addicted to Jelly Bellys, and before I could finish that book I had to run out and buy a ton ☺

Lol! I love it! 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? 

All the time! I once missed my train stop–big time–reading a Maureen Jennings mystery.

Oh, my! But then you got even more reading time going back to it, right? 😉

Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of yourself with us today, Rachel. I hope everyone else enjoyed getting to know you, too!

Happy Reading, Y’all! 

10 comments on “Portrait of a Reader: Rachel M.

  1. Hey Rach! We’re giving The Blue Castle a big plug this week, aren’t we?! Loved learning more about you, especially your comment about the jelly beans. I adore Tamara’s Splitting Harriet 🙂 Thanks Anne for entertaining Rachel!

  2. I had so much fun stopping by Anne’s blog. The Blue Castle is totally worth the read! And the dashingly fun hero in Anne’s novel “At Every Turn” gave me that wonderful throw-back feeling to the Blue Castle! check it out

  3. So nice to meet you Rachel! And you guys, how did I not know about the Blue Castle? Thanks for sharing.

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