Name: Brenda Larnin
Occupation: Spa Manager
Neighborhood: Pacific beach
Where Interviewed: crown point
What book are you currently reading? What page are you on?
"Katherine by Anya Seton. I'm on 12, but this is the second time I've read it."
Tell me about the book.
"It's historical fiction, and it's about John of Gaunt and his mistress, Katherine, who end up being (I think) the great-great grandparents of Henry VIII. Her sister ends up marrying Geoffrey Chaucer. There's a lot of history in the book, but she has to embellish what really happened, and their feelings and their lives. It's really, really good."
What do you make of the plot?
"She gets everything as factual as she can. She doesn't add anybody that isn't in history; she doesn't just add characters. My degree is in history, and I studied English history for awhile, and she does a good job with stuff that we can't say for sure."
Any favorite characters?
"Definitely Katherine. She's just innocent and trusting and loving and that whole thing that you remember being when you were 15. And sweet. My favorite!"
Tell me about the style and language?
"With some books, I can skip a lot. If there's too much detail, I just run through it, and I don't remember doing that with this book at all. Even if there was detail, I wanted every single piece of it. Usually I'm a skipper; I skim if it goes on and on, but with this book I wanted all of it."
Compare this with other books you've read.
"I just read a different historical fiction, and about 50 pages to the end, I didn't want to read it anymore. It just sort of trailed off. The first time I read [Katherine], I wanted it to be another thousand pages, if possible. It's my favorite book, by far."
What book was life-changing for you?
"That's a tough question. There are so many good books. I read a lot of history books. There's one called Founding Brothers about George Washington and those guys that made me realize that I wanted a degree in history, that it was something I was really passionate about. I like history because I think that we can learn from our past -- fiction makes it more interesting than just reading facts -- but history in general repeats itself, and it shows the strength of the human race."
Who are your favorite authors?
"I don't pick authors, really. I haven't read any others by this author. It's just whatever I pick up. I read everything -- a lot of management books, a lot of history books, historical fiction, regular fiction, classics -- whatever I see, not particularly by author."
What periodicals do you read?
"I read Bust regularly."
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
"Most of my friends don't read. I just read The Count of Monte Cristo together with this one guy I'm seeing. We had different editions, so we talked about what we got from it, did we get the same ideas. Just kind of clarification, not really a book discussion."