Name: Helen Paris
Neighborhood: La Mesa
Where interviewed: Barnes & Noble, Grossmont Center
What have you read lately?
Hush, Hush; it’s a series by Becca Fitzpatrick. The books are about fallen angels and archangels and the nephilim, which are a hybrid cross between a human and an angel. It’s kind of adventure and romance — teen fiction. There’s a fallen angel who has lost his wings, and he learns that there’s this girl who’s on the brink of death, and if he can become her guardian angel and save her life, he can get his wings back. It kind of turns into this love story.
Do you read a lot of series?
Yes. Twilight, the Divergent books…I started The Ranger’s Apprentice, but I’m only up to the third book. So much adventuring and action and suspense — oh, my god!
Why do you read? A lot of people don’t read anymore.
When I was younger, I was homeschooled, and my mom made us read two hours a day, every day — even in the summer. We had to read before we could do anything else, like go to a friend’s house or go swimming. So that got me into reading. And the reading brings comfort. I get to go into my own little world, and I get to envision myself being there, being a character. It’s like a therapeutic session.
What book was most life-changing for you?
Stonewycke, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. I could relate to the girl who was the main character because my life seemed a little bit like hers. She felt trapped; she felt like she couldn’t be herself, that she had to put on a show; she felt like she had to do everything everyone wanted. That’s kind of where I was.
So it provided the comfort you mentioned?
Yeah, because it also explained how her dad was, and that’s kind of how my dad was. He didn’t listen to her and he was very pushy. And her mom was, like, “Oh, just go with the flow — but I’m still going to be strict with you. I can do what I want, but you can’t.” That kind of thing.
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
Yeah, some of them think I’m weird. Only some of them can understand the capability of being able to put yourself in the book, and being creative with that. You can try to apply it to your life or you can just use it for fantasy. If you want to escape, you just envision the words and read it in your mind, and you can create your own movie with yourself as the main character. It was hard for me to get into The Lord of the Rings...maybe because I saw the movie first and kind of already knew everything. Also, the language was very interesting, but I couldn’t grasp it. I had dyslexia; I still have it, but not as bad. I would sometimes read one sentence four or five times and wouldn’t be able to move on.
Why didn’t you just give up on reading?
Because I liked the stories. Also, because it irritated me; I wanted to get over it. Because I started going to a public school when I was 13 and my family moved to Ramona, and if they call on you and you keep reading the same line over and over, it’s embarrassing. Plus, it made me a quick reader. If I had my way and stayed in all day, I could finish a whole book in a day. And I could remember it and explain it all to you. A good story draws you in and traps you; you lose track of time. You lose track of everything. I could stay inside it all day long.