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Page Turner: Mysteries and short stories are among favorites

Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 12:01 am

Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Mary Koeneman, who is retired from the electronic service business and from Magnavox.

“I have just started reading 'The Racketeer,' by John Grisham. I like him more than I do others: I think his writing is flawless. I appreciate someone who writes in a comfortable, flowing form. I'm a frustrated writer, and I think letter writing has become a lost art.

“Anyway, I love to read. I got to the classics late in life. I didn't want 'Mutiny on the Bounty' to end. Then I fell in love with 'The Good Earth,' by Pearl (S.) Buck and became enamored of everything Chinese. 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' was next. I thought the characterizations in that story were so interesting. These are all really great stories.

“Now I'm also into the mystery genre. I like James Patterson and have read five or six of the Sue Grafton books. I buy my books at yard sales and have found some old books that to me are treasures. The book feels good in my hand; it's been well-read. And I buy many at Salvation Army and Goodwill sales.

“So now mysteries and suspense books are favorites, and both Grisham and Scott Turow write about the law. I think Turow is excellent, too. And I really like (E. L.) Doctorow's writing.

“(W.) Somerset Maugham has been a favorite writer. Starting with 'Of Human Bondage,' I've read just about everything he has written – 'The Letter,' 'Rain.' A lot of his things have been made into films and all his books are on my bookshelves. I never give any of his writing away.

“I like short stories. One especially is 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,' written by Hemingway, another good writer; I liked his 'A Farewell to Arms.' And John Steinbeck is a favorite. … His 'Grapes of Wrath' was a beautiful story – about the Joad family. I never got into Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye.' I got through several chapters but couldn't finish it.

“Then there's 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' by Harper Lee. I saw the play here and found it very interesting. We are blessed because there is a marvelous group of actors here in Fort Wayne. After the play there was a discussion and some people said they objected to the language in the play, including the use of the 'n' word. Well, I spoke up saying this was the language of the times. Should we try to change the past in literature? How much should we change? Do we have the right to change their words? Now there's a discussion point, isn't there?”