Rita Mae Brown: Born to Read

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede books; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; and In Her Day; as well as 57 other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter, a poet and 2015 Winner of the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award, Brown lives in Afton, Va., and is a Master of Foxhounds. Her latest book, Cakewalk (Bantam), is reviewed below. We asked her about her reading habits.

photo: Mary Motley Kalergis

If birth is the search for a larger apartment, I emerged looking for the library. I learned to read at three and couldn't stop.

Currently I'm re-reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Every 10 years I re-read Meditations, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Each decade I learn something new.

I have a book on the kitchen table, one by the bed, another in the car and one down at HQ, a stable with a place for people. I am a promiscuous reader. I will read anything: popcorn fiction, science, true literature, history, historical fiction and any 18th- or 19th-century foxhunting book I can get my hands on.

In the last week I read Karin Slaughter's The Kept Woman (just released), Virgil's Aeneid Book VI, translated by Seamus Heaney, The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human by Dominic Johnson is on the kitchen table, so that's slower going.

Next up will be The Education of Henry Adams, published in 1918, followed by The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma by Henry Adams, published in 1919. I have never given the Adams family their proper due apart from John Adams and Abigail. Time I corrected this oversight.

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