Mrs Morrison's Hotel

The 100% personal official blog for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, author, Celtic priestess, retired rock critic, wife of Jim

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I was, wait, sorry, that's "David Copperfield". Anyway, I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, went to school in upstate NY and came straight back to Manhattan to live. Never lived anywhere else. Never wanted to. Got a job as a rock journalist, in the course of which I met and married a rock star (yeah, yeah, conflict of interest, who cares). Became a priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition, and (based on sheer longevity) one of the most senior Witches around. Began writing my Keltiad series. Wrote a memoir of my time with my beloved consort (Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison). See Favorite Books below for a big announcement...The Rennie Stride Mysteries. "There is no trick or cunning, no art or recipe, by which you can have in your writing that which you do not possess in yourself." ---Walt Whitman (Also @ and

Sunday, March 29, 2009


1. Do you prefer to read hardcover or paperback books? Hardcover or larger sized paperbacks? Borrow?

Neither a book borrower nor a book lender be I. (Except sometimes I borrow from my mom and sister. And I ALWAYS return books I borrow, within days. And if I do lend, I insist on the book's return. Which doesn't happen, and I learned the hard way, so that's why I don't lend but rather buy copies for people if I want them to read something.)

If I want to read a book, I buy it. Always hardcover, unless it's just a piece of fluff like a mystery to read on a plane or if I want to read the book NOW and I can't find or afford a hardcover at that moment. Doesn't have to be new; I buy from second-hand bookstores and eBay all the time. Which makes no sense, since I refuse to borrow books from the library around the corner, or indeed any library; I get all grossed out by who's had their grimy, germy paws all over the book.

Anyway, having neither unlimited book income nor shelf space, I'm careful about what I do buy. I like to think I already own pretty much all the books I'd ever want anyway...several thousand at last count. And any new book has to get along with the other books, or out it goes. Yes, I'm insane; I know.

2. Do you have a favorite place to read in your home?

In bed, which is also where I write (like dear Sir Winston Churchill) and watch TV.

3. Do you have a favorite place to read away from, or outside of, your home?

Reading to me is a sacred function, so I don't generally do it promiscuously in public. I get so absorbed and taken outside myself while reading that I don't like other people seeing me do it. I won't read on a bus or train or in a car, and I don't even like to read on planes, though if it's cloudy or dark out, I will; I prefer to pop on the iPod and look out the window instead.

4. Do you snack while you read?

You bet, and I am very careful not to mess up the book. Not just snacks, but full meals, even, and it often amuses me to tailor the food to the book: buttered scones and hot cocoa for English cozies, nice crispy bacon for LOTR.

5. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Depends. Generally no, as I was taught from childhood that you didn't ever mark up books, and I didn't have a lot of them to begin with back then (though I had more books than anyone else in the house), so I treasured them and tended to keep them immaculate.
As I still do: when I'm done reading a book, you can't tell I ever read it. Hardcovers stay pristine through many rereads, but paperbacks tend to get really beat up, yet another reason why I'll buy HCs if I can.

I will highlight only a very few working reference books, such as ones I used while writing my Keltiad, and still I almost never WRITE in them; that's still a deeply ingrained no-no.
I will dog-ear, very sparingly, and generally just favorite passages, for ease of finding them again, never just to mark my place; my Aubrey-Maturin books probably have ten dog-ears apiece.

And I would NEVER, not with a gun to my head, mark up or dog-ear an old, rare, first-edition or otherwise valuable book, of which I'm proudly boastful to say I have lots. They're read carefully and carefully shelved after reading. I'm leaving them all to the St. Bonaventure library, with a few bequests to friends.

6. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

I read so fast, there's generally no need to mark my place because I just roll right on through to the end in one sitting. If I do have to stop reading, I tuck in the front or back dustjacket flap to mark my place. Or else I just remember where I left off. Very occasionally I'll use a bookmark, if something's to hand.

And I have to read a book as soon as I get it home, because if I don't, how will I know where to shelve it?

7. Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Judging from the shelves in the book room, probably 50-50.

8. Hardcopy or audiobooks?

Always hardcopy. I can't stand having someone else's voice get between me and the book. I like to hear my own voice reading it in my own head.

The same way I feel about religion, actually...nothing between me and Deity.

9. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I can stop whenever I want to. Really. But I never do, and since, as mentioned above, I'm such a fast reader, I very seldom need to. Or, indeed, want to: I read the last Harry Potter in seven hours flat, as I recall, because I could, but also because I couldn't bear the idea of going to bed Not Knowing What Happened.

10. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Write it down to look it up later? Just try to infer what it means from the rest of the sentence, and keep going?

In all modesty, it's been many, many decades since I've encountered an unfamiliar word.

But if I did, it would undoubtedly be something technical: medical or computer or some such. So if it didn't respond to my Latin knowledge trying to ferret out its meaning, I'd probably just press on and look it up later, if it was a problem.

11. What are you currently reading?

Just finished "Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster", by Alison Weir, and "Girls Like Us", by Sheila Weller (a triple, interwoven bio of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King), and am rereading "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded," by Simon Winchester, and "Body of Opinion", by Susannah Stacey.

12. What is the last book you bought?

"The Wanderer", the posthumously completed fourth book of Cherry Wilder's Rulers of Hylor series. It's good, and it was interesting to get closure on some characters, even if it's not the closure I wanted, but I could really tell where Cherry left off and Katya Reimann, a far less talented writer, took over to finish it.

These days, the shelves just can't take any more, so the rule is that for every book I buy I must deaccession at least one, preferably two. This is no problem: I donate them to the Housing Works Book Cafe, usually, at least the general-interest ones.
When I get around to dispersing Celtic books, as I will shortly, they will all go to homes where they'll be appreciated and welcome. I really don't need most of them anymore; Keltia is so well established now that the books are their own references. When I get some time down the road, I'll put up a list and you guys can put in requests; I'll just ask for the cost of postage and an envelope.

Same with myth/shamanic/otherwise Witchy books; I just have no more need of those either, and I seldom if ever reread them. So they'll go too. There's also some pricey astronomy books (mostly on stars) that somebody might like.

The rock books I'll keep for Rennie use and reference, and the fiction/poetry/history/bios stay always.

13. What is your all time favorite book?

That's like asking which is your favorite child. There are far too many to list, depending on mood and reason and season.

14. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can read more than one at a time?

I prefer to be literarily serially monogamous. It's disrepectful not to give a book your full attention; that would be like talking on your cellphone while on a date. Though I can, and often do, read while watching TV. Never anything I'm really into, though. And I NEVER listen to music while reading a book; that's disrespectful twice over.

15. Do you like re-reading books?

I reread continually, for love of the books and for comfort. There are great swatches of hundreds of books I know by heart. If it's not worth rereading, it's not worth reading in the first place.

BONUS: Are there certain themes/ideas/qualities you tend to be drawn to in books?

Hmm. I guess it's more the themes/ideas/qualities that repel me from certain books: nastiness, gross-outs, vampirism (blood or psychological), anything icky, sticky or oversexedly porno, hard-boiled crime stuff, police procedurals, political stuff, graphic violence or autopsy stuff, unpleasant authors, boring characters, uninspired or overly fanciful names (especially in fantasy; those ones with apostrophes and unpronounceable spellings, like R'lehyr'tan'iss or K'r'inn A'le'XannR, or just stupid ones like RainbowLilac Silverwindmistdancer of the GreenpleasantvalenearAvalon).

I always scan the first chapter of a book before I buy it; if I don't like the tone, or the names, it stays unbought.
That rules out a lot, though not half so much as you'd think...

And I have never EVER in my LIFE read the last chapter first to find out "how it ends." The end means nothing without everything that goes before it; what's the point? Besides, I really hate spoilers...why do people want to ruin their own pleasure?


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