Carolyn Fishman

Name: Carolyn Fishman
Where you live: Chicago!
Insta handle: @cj_fish
Current read: Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (NYC Book Club!)

What has been your favorite read of the past year?

There’s no way I can pick just one – but if I had to give you my top two, they would be Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

What is one book that you think will (or should) become a classic in the next 30 (or 50) years? Why?

I think A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It was so beautifully and thoughtfully written. People from all different walks of my life (from a friend’s dad, to an athlete, to my grandmas) have enjoyed it.

Imagine this.  You and a celebrity of your choice are becoming friends.  They have asked you for a book rec. Who is the celebrity and what book do you recommend?

A week before the movie version of The Hate U Give came out, journalist Jemele Hill sat down with three of the WNBA’s stars: Candace Parker, Chiney Ogwumike, and Angel McCoughtry. All four of these women are making moves and paving paths for generations to come. Not sure if they read the book or just saw the movie, but I would love to sit back down with all four of them and continue their conversation. (If you are a fan of The Hate U Give, women supporting women, or the WNBA, you can relive their conversation here).

How do you choose your next read?

It changes every time. Sometimes it’s because a co-worker recommended one, sometimes it’s because theSkimm suggested one that resonated with me, sometimes it’s through this amazing site and its creator, sometimes it’s because of family (mostly my grandmas and my mom), and sometimes it’s because it’s just what sounds good.

What book meant the most to you as a child?

So my obvious answer to this is the entire Harry Potter series. Anybody who knows me can vouch for me on this one – I am truly, 100% obsessed. It’s also a family thing. Every summer we would drive in our minivan from the Chicago suburbs to visit family in New York. Before we were blessed with a DVD player, we listened to the audiobooks as read by Jim Dale. To this day, all 7 audiobooks are on my iPad. I listen to at least part of one almost every day. However, the other books that come to mind are Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, all of the Little House on the Prairie books, and the Boxcar Children series.

What is your favorite adaptation from book to film, theater, or television?  What book do you wish would be adapted?

My favorite book that has been turned into a movie that I also loved is Holes by Louis Sachar. As for a book that I wish would be adapted – I would love nothing more than for Reese Witherspoon to read The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and turn it into a mini-series. I think following the four Gold siblings throughout each of their journeys would be incredible.

What’s the one book everyone loves that you just cannot stand?

Ugh, I know this one is going to be unpopular, but I’ll say it anyway. I really just didn’t love Fates and Furies. Maybe because it had been so hyped up for me? I don’t know.

What is your favorite book set in or around the area where you live?

So when Morgan first started doing these Girls Who Read segments, this question stood out to me because I realized I have read very few books that use Chicago or its suburbs as a main setting. So I set out to change that. I recently finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the juxtaposition of the two main characters. Before I read it, though, my favorite book that takes place in Chicago (series really) is Divergent. I love a good dystopian society novel.

What is one classic you think is not overrated?

A Little Princess. It’s also at the top of my to be re-read list.

If you had to declare yourself an expert in one extremely specific genre, what would it be?  

This is tough. If the extremely specific genre is not “Harry Potter,” I would have to say young adult dystopian society novels/series. From The Giver, to The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, to The Hunger Games, to Divergent, to Allyson Braithwaite Condie’s Matched, to The Maze Runner, to Fahrenheit 451 – I could literally survive on these books alone.

What is your go-to book recommendation?

I think it depends on who is asking for the recommendation. Although lately I’ve done a lot of recommending of Crazy Rich Asians (phenomenal beach read); The Alice Network (I LOVE historical fiction); and the Spy Girl series (for those who just want to get lost in a captivating, fast-paced, more grown up version of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You).

What book changed your worldview in some way?

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee. It was an incredible first hand account of life both inside and outside of North Korea that read like a novel. It included the good and the bad in each, and was extremely eye-opening. The part that was craziest to me was the timing of all of it – the author is 38 years old now, meaning much of what she experienced has happened in my lifetime. Comparing our life stories, especially as I was reading the book while traveling abroad for fun with a friend, was both ironic and humbling.

If you could inhabit the life of one fictional character for a day, who would you choose?

I would be Jo March from Little Women.

Who do you think is the greatest female author?

I can’t pick. Going to just go with J.K. Rowling, because the world she created with Harry Potter is something I truly cannot imagine having lived without.

Why reading?

Besides family and friends, my two favorite things are books and basketball. Both provide different escapes for me. Books allow me to truly put myself in someone else’s shoes, to throw myself into someone else’s story. I’m positive that there is a high correlation between my mood in real life and whatever is happening in the story of the protagonist that I am currently reading about. Also, I’m a naturally curious person. I love learning more about almost anything, and I find reading is the best way for me to do that.

What’s at the top of your TBR or wish list?

In no particular order:

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • Places I Stopped on the Way Home by Meg Fee
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  • Come With Me by Helen Schulman

Also, the last two installments in the Spy Girl series by Jillian Dodd – they aren’t due to come out until February and June of 2019, but I literally cannot stop thinking about them. I read the first five in one day each – if anyone gets advanced readers copies and wants to share…. Hit me up!

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