Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kate Hilton

Kate Hilton is the author of The Hole in the Middle and Just Like Family (2017). She also co-authors a non-fiction blog, The Pen Pal Project. Before turning to fiction, Hilton worked in law, higher education, public relations and major gift fundraising. She has an English degree from McGill University and a Law degree from the University of Toronto. She is a working mother, a community volunteer, a voracious reader and a pretty decent cook. Hilton lives with her family in Toronto, where she is working on her third novel.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I read a fairly balanced diet of fiction and non-fiction, and I usually have one of each on the go at any given time.

On the fiction side, I’ve been on a historical novel binge lately. Delicious. I like my historicals to be meticulously researched, with elegant prose and a little romance.

My most recent read, Jennifer Robson’s Moonlight Over Paris, fit the bill admirably. I adored it. I’m a fan of Robson’s work, and I was waiting for this one to arrive so that I could gobble it down. There is something particularly irresistible about Paris in the 1920s, a time and place of immense creativity and rebirth. I cheered for the romantic leads, Helena and Sam - for their relationship with each other, but also for each character's development from a citizen of the pre-war world into an individual of the modern age. Robson handles these vast social transitions with the subtlety and care of a serious historian - which, of course, she is.

And now I am reading RenĂ©e Rosen’s White Collar Girl. I’ve only just started, but I’m already breathing the air of a 1950s newsroom in Chicago, and rooting for Jordan, the young female reporter who wants to make her mark in a male-dominated profession.

On the non-fiction side, I finally finished Andrew Solomon’s Far From The Tree. I say ‘finally’, not because it was a chore, but because this book is so rich and thought provoking that I had to take breaks in order to absorb the astonishing ideas contained within it. Solomon explores a seemingly diverse collection of ‘differences’ – among them dwarfism, autism, criminality, genius, and Down Syndrome – and explores what it means for a family to raise a child who falls into one of these categories. His findings are nothing short of revelatory – about the parent-child relationship, about what it means to have an identity, about the nature of love, and about what it is to be human. I mean it when I say that this is the most powerful piece of writing I’ve read in years.

Right now, I’m reading Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life On The Road. What a life! And how much we all owe to it! I first saw Steinem speak when I was an undergraduate, and I was captivated by her warmth, humor, wisdom, and most surprisingly (to a young and outraged activist), optimism. In this book, I can hear that voice, and it inspires me all over again. In her words: “Altogether I’ve seen enough change to have faith that more will come.”
Visit Kate Hilton's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue