Tara Langerhans: Novel Women
She's taken her reading to the next level and I'm here for it.
(a small pre-script… I’m making some changes around here so you’ll notice this newsletter. It’s still me, Abby Murrish. I’m making the changes gradually and hoping to have them finalized next week and excited to share what’s coming. Until then, enjoy Tara’s interview!)
I’m thrilled to welcome Tara Langerhans for this installment of Novel Women, a series where we look at the reading lives of women. Reading Tara’s interview was inspiring! I loved learning how she’s leaned into cultivating her passion for reading and how she makes time for it in her daily life. Enjoy!
Tara lives in West Texas in a town of 100,000- so it's not rural or urban. She runs her family's agriculture-based manufacturing business, has two kids who love theatre, and is heavily involved with two non-profits. She reads 15-20 books a month and review ARCs on Goodreads along with running a local book club and having a side business as a book matchmaker.
What's one of your earliest/first memories of reading?
TL: I remember reading many books on road trips and packing a separate suitcase for books.
Why do you read?
TL: I live a fairly quiet, white, privileged life. To avoid boredom with my circumstances or escape any hardships, I read. To try to combat prejudices or have a glimpse into other viewpoints or cultures, I read. I think people are endlessly interesting and I love reading about how others think and live. This is why I am always reading!
When and how do you read during your day? Do you prefer audiobooks, Kindle, or paper? A mix of all three?
TL: I always have one audiobook going, listening to it while getting dressed and while doing any driving during the day. I try to listen to it in the evenings while cooking or doing chores but that depends on the content of the book (ok for kids to overhear) or how much homework help they require that day. I often squeeze in another 15 min of audio while getting ready for bed. This audio schedule means that I listen to most books in 10-15 increments. For a long book, this could take me a month to finish it. However, I find that I retain audiobooks, especially character names, much better than written books.
I am always also reading on Kindle one or two books. I read on the Kindle app on my phone or work laptop any spare second during the day. I do a lot of waiting in lines- at the post office, the bank drive thru, school pick up, during lessons for kids- and these small pockets of time can usually lead to 1-3 hours of reading in a normal week day. On the weekends I read as much as possible. I will occasionally watch television, but it is rare and only with my husband or a kid.
We live 3-4 hours from a major city and go to one 1-2 weekends per month for family, sporting events for our kids, or to see a play or concert. In the car, my husband and I listen to a "compromise audiobook". We like mysteries, memoirs of musicians, or sometimes books set in place we'd like to go. I have trouble reading in the car but can squeeze in some more Kindle time on the weekends whenever possible. On an at home weekend, we have Friday family movie nights during which I can read while they watch or research my next books online.
I review all my read books for the previous week on Mondays (or Tuesdays if need be.) This helps me recommend books to others and keep a history that I can look back on. I also have a Note app in my phone where I keep a list of read books, with dates read and a simple five star rating.
What's a book you finished recently? Can you give us a one-sentence review?
TL: “Answers in the Pages” by David Levithan. Told from a fifth-grade student's perspective, this Middle Grade book takes on the topic of book banning when a boy leaves out his school assigned book only for his mother to read just the final page and sound the alarm that the book should be prohibited.
What's your dream reading scenario?
TL: In a reclining chair with a blanket by a fireplace
Where do you find recommendations of what to read next?
TL: Book podcasts, Netgalley, google upcoming book releases, and announced book to screen adaptations.
If you could have dinner with three authors (at the same time), who would you choose? Any particular reason why those three?
TL: Fredrik Backman, of whom I saw an online book tour interview. He was witty and such a student of human nature.
Deanna Raybourn, a newer to me author with a large backlist. I heard her on a podcast and I loved her perspective on writing. She is also a Texan.
Stephen Rowley, whom I have loved all of his books. I like his humor and writing and his unique voice and think he would be an interesting mix with the other guests.
One of my favorite podcasts, Currently Reading, "pressed" books for the first few seasons of their show. A "press" is a book that they think a variety of readers would enjoy.
What's a book you want to "press" and why?
TL: “Tell Me Everything” by Erika Krouse. This memoir by a researcher for a lawyer who took on a case against a university for allowing and covering up a culture of sexual abuse. The author used her past traumas to help inform her research and writing and her story is so compelling and hopeful. It is a memoir that reads like a legal thriller.
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke—
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