Congrats to Ann Walker—loyal customer, avid reader, and the first to complete our 2017 Read Broader challenge. Ann and her husband moved to Frederick in 2014, and she loves devoting time to gardening, yoga, reading, and the Internet. She gets together weekly with a worldwide group of friends on “What Am I Reading Wednesday” to talk about books and exchange recommendations. “It’s a high point of my week,” she says.

You read 20 books in less than three months! Is this your normal reading pace?

Pretty much…reading is my preferred form of entertainment. I usually have an e-book in progress on the desktop or Kindle, and a physical book to read in the evening. So three or four books a week. (And, full disclosure, my Read Broader list also included several novellas and two graphic novels.)

Why did you decide to participate in Read Broader?

I love making lists and crossing things off of lists. I had already signed up for a number of 2017 reading challenges at one of my favorite reading websites, Worlds Without End, but those were mostly fantasy and science fiction oriented. When I saw Read Broader on Curious Iguana’s Facebook page, I thought, “Well, it probably wouldn’t kill me to read something that didn’t involve wizards or intergalactic travel…”

The Read Broader initiative grew out of Curious Iguana’s “Get to know your world” mission. Has participating changed your world view in any way?

Read Broader reminded me that the world is full of stories, and all our stories are worth hearing.

Of the 20 books you read, what two are you most likely to recommend to other readers?

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family was absolutely fascinating and inspiring (and relevant to our community, right now). The story of the courageous transformation of Wyatt into Nicole, and the struggles for acceptance both inside and outside the family, was just heartrending.

Passing Strange was just a perfect little gem of a novella, with character, setting, mood, and plot all exquisitely executed.

Is there one book in particular that will stick with you more than others?

The Man Who Spoke Snakish! I really have to thank Read Broader for this, and the Small Press Works in Translation category – how else would I have come across this Estonian fantasy/fable/allegory/whatever? It was fantasy in the very best kind of way, completely fantastical – there was no way to predict which way the story would go. I understand from some Goodread comments that many of the Estonian folklore references and in-jokes were lost in the translation (and some day it might be interesting to have an annotated version) but this was completely unique and enjoyable on its own merits.

How do you think participating in Read Broader will influence what you read in the future?

My to-read list is so much longer and broader now! I’m looking forward stretching my boundaries once again when the FCPL Adult Summer Reading program cranks up this summer.