A Reader Talks About Reading and Writing, Part 2

My interview with my long-time friend and voracious reader, Lesley Peebles. continues below. – Lynette

What are your favorite books from various eras in your life?

Lesley vacationing in Montreal

The Narnia books still inform my spiritual life.

When I was 11, I must have read The Descent of Woman—in which the author proposed that homo erectus spent a couple of millennia on the beach, thus the lack of fur and the presence of sub-cutaneous fat—at least ten times. I was like a toddler watching a movie over and over again, deriving new meaning each time.

As an adolescent, I loved Les Miserables. The melodrama of it, especially the resolution—the hero on his deathbed, with his daughter and her beloved beside him—reflected my own emotional life.

Now I have so many favorite book, but I don’t reread them the way I used to. Instead I press them on my friends. The most recent was Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I read Cider House Rules when it first came out, and could hardly wait the ten years or I needed before I’d forget enough about it to read it again.

Have you ever thought about writing a book? 

There’s one book I want to write. It would be for grade-school or younger children. It’s about a young man finding his vocation in a very abbreviated and visual way.

Do any particular topics appeal to you?

I dream constantly about parallel lives. About the door I’ve never opened in my house. About the back stairs and hallways that servants used in estate houses. About worlds you can move between if you follow the correct ritual.

In one recurring dream, I enter a spiral staircase at the bottom, climb to the first landing and turn around. Suddenly, the staircase doesn’t end where I came in, but spirals down into another country.

These books would be for young readers: as you can tell, my imagination is plot- and location-based, not character driven.

Do you think you’ll ever write one?

Maybe. My cousin could illustrate my story. But I’d have to conquer my internal editor first, and she’s fierce.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I have opportunities to write from time to time. I wrote a devotional for my church’s Advent booklet, for example. I find writing very satisfying – but only when I have something compelling to say.

What do you read—and why?

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