Reader Spotlight: The Egans of Takoma Park

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library," said Argentinian poet and essayist Jorge Luis Borges. One can easily imagine his words being echoed by countless passionate readers in our midst, including the Egan family of Takoma Park, Md.

"I love to read," enthuses Sandy Egan, a Takoma Park Elementary School secretary. "I list that as my first hobby. Our whole family, including our four daughters, are all avid readers, especially Tara, Bridget and Alexis (pictured with their mom in Tara's room). We never go anywhere without a book: at the bank, on the Metro, on the bus. Shannon also reads, though not as much as her sisters.

"When the girls were young we visited the library at least once a week (we still go once a week). We had a family card which allowed us to take out up to 135 books at Montgomery County Public Libraries. Their dad read to them every night at bedtime and I read to them while they ate breakfast. When the girls were young they loved it when their dad wasn't home for dinner because I would declare it a reading night so they could bring books to the table and read during dinner.


From left to right, Bridget, Sandra, Tara and Alexis Egan.

"My husband Mark is also an avid reader. His mother always said, 'Better than me you cannot be, for I had a mother who read to me.'"

Book World caught Sandy and three of her daughters home from college on spring break recently and asked them to share what's currently on their plates.

Sandy (Mom):
I'm reading Dana Stabenow's newest, Whisper to the Blood . I also just finished Lincoln Child's newest, Terminal Freeze, and Maeve Binchy's Heart and Soul. I also love mysteries.

I love to read anytime. I have a favorite chair in the living room that I love to sit in to read. I very rarely buy a new book. I go to Montgomery County Public Libraries Website to look for forthcoming books. You can reserve them before they come out. I usually get the new book within a week.

Bridget (19, a twin):
I'm reading Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, and The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. I'm also re-reading the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore. I like the family dynamic portrayed in Lutz's book. It's a fun, unique twist on the typical mystery novel whose plots can often blend together.

Sometimes the next book I read is already determined, for instance, if a book is assigned for a class. Other times I'll take the advice of friends and family and read what they suggest. Sometimes I'll read something on the Internet and want to learn more about it, like the White Rose Resistance in World War II. Sometimes I re-read books. Other times I'll just grab any book from the library bookshelf and give it a shot.

I always read before I go to sleep. It doesn't have to be the book I'm currently reading. It could be a magazine, the newspaper or re-reading a chapter from a book that I really like. I read whenever I have free time, before classes, after classes, while I eat, as a break from homework, as a way to relax. Pretty much I'll use anything as an excuse to read.

Tara (24):
I just finished Sarah Vowell's newest book, The Wordy Shipmates . I'm currently reading 1 Dead in Attic , a collection of newspaper columns written by Chris Rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is a great book. Chris Rose is an amazing writer and his vignettes humanize the tragedy of Katrina very powerfully. I definitely recommend it.

I discover new books from the recommendations of friends, as well as things I stumble across on the Internet. I keep a list in my journal of books I'd like to read when/if I can find them.

I read in between things all throughout the day: on the bus and the Metro, waiting in line, while brushing my teeth. I also usually fall asleep reading, and often wake up in the middle of the night, having fallen asleep on my book.

Alexis (19, the other twin):
I just read Cross by Ken Bruen, a crime novel set in Galway, Republic of Ireland. I'm planning to study abroad in Galway next semester so I liked it for the projection of the city and the people, though I don't really like Bruen's writing style which I find too short and abrupt, without enough character development -- though I did just start in the middle of the series, so some of that is certainly my fault. I've just started On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett. So far it's very good.

Often I read what my parents and sisters recommend, though I like to just go to the library a lot to browse the shelves to see what I can find. I like a lot of genres so I'm always willing to try a new book just to see how it is. At school, during my study breaks, I normally wander around the library to find some for-fun reading (i.e., not a textbook).

I typically read right before I go to bed -- always a bad idea if I want to get to sleep at a normal hour. I also try to read whenever I travel, like on the bus to get home from school or on the Metro -- multitasking. I normally have a book with me wherever I go. You never know when you'll have a few minutes to spare to read!

By Mary Ishimoto Morris |  March 24, 2009; 2:18 PM ET Mary Morris
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How the heck do you read while brushing your teeth? That one got me!

Posted by: cjbriggs | March 25, 2009 1:44 PM

"How the heck do you read while brushing your teeth? That one got me!"

It's very easy. You either prop the book up on the sink or you hold it with one hand while you brush with the other.

I've done this most of my life.

Posted by: elyrest | March 28, 2009 10:25 PM

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