Today I’m talking to Sammy Ginsberg, a Mid Twenties / Literary Fiction / Erotica Writer and Blogger! about her love of books and reading.
Hi Sammy. I know you’ve always been a keen reader.
Sammy: Hi. Yes, I absolutely love reading for fun. In high school, I didn’t consider reading homework as homework. I would always save it for last. Nowadays, even though I’m pretty busy, I manage to read at least one book a week.
Trish: I always have a book on the go myself. What kinds of books do you read?
Sammy: I usually go for strong female narrator books, or books written in the 50s and 60s, or books about the beat generation. I’ve recently started to read about changing careers and self-development of successful women as I’m changing careers and trying to be successful about it. I also love biographies and autobiographies, and memoirs.
Trish: You read very inspiring books! What makes you choose a book?
Sammy: Definitely the PR. If I’ve heard about it or I’ve met the author I’ll be interested. Sometimes I go for a book because a friend recommends it or it can even be the person working in the bookshop who points me in the right direction. To be honest, I don’t really care what the book looks like as long as it comes highly recommended.
Trish: Do you go for a longer book or a shorter one?
Sammy: I prefer short books, that way I can finish it in a week. One of my favourite sensations is the feeling of finishing a book. It is so satisfying.
Trish: It is in one way, but I find it can be sad in another way – unless I’ve my next book already lined up for reading, especially if there’s a series of books I enjoy.
Sammy: I prefer standalone books, myself. I get bored quite easily and I’m the kind of person that likes to know a little bit about a lot of things so I’m not good at sticking to a long series. It’s the main reason I find watching TV tedious.
Trish: Do you think there are enough good books for your age range?
Sammy: To be honest, no. I feel like they are all kinds of coming of age novels about teens or mid-life crisis books - not many are about that weird age of stagnation in your mid-twenties. Basically, I’m having my quarter-life crisis, and I’d like to read more about that. I’d like to read a lot more books about that.
I want to see more books like Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, and Chris Kraus - academic memoir, autobiography - books that have intellectual and emotional depth without the pretentiousness of ‘literary’ while stilling being literary.
Trish: Writers and buddying writers, take note! There’s a gap in the market! How do you find new books to read?
Sammy: When I have questions about life, I often look to books as a means to find answers. I talk to friends and research online. If I admire a particular writer, I see what books they have read and ones that they recommend.
Trish: What books would you recommend others to read?
Sammy: All the following books have all had an impact on my life and changed my opinions, that’s why I’d definitely recommend them:
Pivot by Jenny Blake all about figuring out how to navigate a career change from setting your internal compass, to testing, to making the change.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, a beautiful expression of love, family, and making your own path.
Bang Ditto by Amber Tamblyn, the raw side of being a woman in Hollywood.
Exodus by Leon Uris, a breathtaking historic epic about WWII that will have you weeping.
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa, the most beautiful love story ever written, and definitely where I take my definition of love from.
A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland all about the importance of silence in the Eastern and Western world in history and present day.
Demian by Hermann Hesse, a coming of age novel about the journey of inward acceptance and self-education.
Allen Ginsberg: The Biography by Barry Miles and “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg, the poem that made me realize I could be a poet, too, and the biography of the man who helped me give myself permission. Allen had the craziest life from winning the King of May in Prague, being thrown out of Cuba for permitting the use of weed and homosexuality, performing with the Clash, hanging out with the Beatles, and starting a school called Naropa (where I studied!)
As for my favourite book. Hmm, I used to say that my favourite book was whatever I was currently reading, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize that’s not true. I will define favourite as books that bring me joy whenever I think about them.
And there are also my favourite books as a teen. I haven’t read them since - although I still think about them all the time (and should probably re-read them):
The Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging series by Louise Rennison.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Harry Potter. I won’t lie - I was in a Harry Potter fan club in middle school. One of my friends even invited him to her Bat Mitzvah, but he couldn’t make it.
Trish: What a pity! It would have been great to have Daniel Radcliffe at the party! Is there anything that really puts you off a book?
Sammy: I hate books that have won awards. They put such high expectations on the book, and I find they are never truly met. Also, reading is so personal and subjective that awards don’t really work for me. If a book is heavily marketed on the tube, then I avoid that book for at least a year.
Trish: Have you any other ideas on the subject that you’d like to share?
Sammy: Just that my love of books is intense. They are the reason I moved away from home twice to the UK, they are the reason I lived on a couch for two months, and they are the reason that I quit my job, cut my hair, and moved to Greece. Books. But a ‘book’ is really just the material that holds what I love, and that is the expression of ideas, thoughts, and feelings and the sharing and discussion of those to help you in your own self-discovery and pleasure. The writing, publishing, and reading of books is really just the valuing of thoughts.
I’ve written a street book all about that called, “How to Value Your Own Thoughts” that you can read on my blog Literary Pixie -. You’ll find some interesting interviews, reviews, and poetry there, too.
You can find me on FB at Sammy Ginsberg or @Literary Pixie and on Twitter @LiteraryPixie.
Trish: It was great talking to you, Sammy. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.
Here are some of the books that Sammy recommends.