Emily Hessney Lynch is a digital marketer at a nonprofit by day; she also runs her own business called Serve Me the Sky Digital, where she offers freelance social media strategy, management, and writing. Additionally, Emily is the Director of Content at I Heart ROC, a local website that tells the stories of fascinating Rochesterians. She loves volunteering, reading obsessively, taking long walks, and hanging out with her husband and their two rescue dogs. In 2019, Emily is on a quest to read 100 books. You can follow along with #emilys100books2019 or by following @servemethesky.
What are you reading now?
I just finished my advance reader copy of Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, out May 14th from St. Martin’s/Griffin. It was spectacular. You may not realize you need a book about the First Son of the United States falling in love with the Prince of England, but you definitely do.
Are you a fiction or nonfiction reader?
I read way more fiction than nonfiction, but I do occasionally dive into nonfiction.
Share a favorite quote from a book you’ve read. Why is it meaningful to you?
“Every moment in your life is a turning and everyone one a choosing.” — Cormac McCarthy.
This one rings so true to me, because so often we think of choice in our lives only in the really big moments, but it’s actually all around us, in every second of every day. We are constantly choosing to stay in our jobs, our relationships, our homes, or to change and evolve. It’s a good reminder that we have the power of choice at our fingertips, all the time.
What book would you love to see made into a movie? Who would play the lead role?
I think the Saga graphic novels would make an incredible movie. Apparently Lin Manuel-Miranda made a comment about how much he loves to get lost in the world of Saga, and now the writer, Brian K. Vaughn, and artist, Fiona Staples, are joking in interviews about a Saga musical co-created with Lin Manuel. I’d be so down for that.
What book are you recommending that everyone read right now?
Lately I’ve been making an effort to read more books by women and people of color. I’m always recommending Angie Thomas’s books to people; another great one I read during Black History Month and have recommended widely is How Long Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin.
Is there a book you feel is highly overrated?
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I found all the characters pretty vacant, and couldn’t find much meaning in the story, at least not enough to justify the cult following.
Are there any other books that marked milestones in your life?
I used to reread the entire Harry Potter series every summer. The summer between high school and college, I was staying up late every night to read and working two jobs before heading off to U of R. One night, I came home from work exhausted, and scraped the side of my car on the basketball hoop as I pulled into the driveway. My dad was livid and blamed it on me staying up too late to read Harry Potter. He banned me from reading it for the rest of the summer! I still look back on that and laugh, even though it was horrifying in the moment.
What book challenged you the most when you read it?
I read Ulysses by James Joyce in my modern lit class in college. It was incredibly challenging, but I felt so triumphant when I finished it.
Does reading influence your decision-making process?
I think it does, but in very unconscious ways. Studies have shown that reading fiction makes people more empathetic, and I think everything I’ve learned from books (both fact-wise and compassion-wise) is at play when I’m moving through the world and making decisions.
Are you a “finisher” or do you stop reading a book if you’re not connecting with it?
I have a hard time abandoning books. I’ll power through even if I’m not enjoying it. I like to give books the chance to redeem themselves, or sometimes I just end up “hate reading” them, as I call it. I’ve been known to pick up a book I put down for six months or even a year and just jump back in and finish it, even after that long a break.
Why do you read?
I read to feel more like myself. The act of sitting down and reading centers and grounds me. I also read to have experiences beyond my day-to-day by escaping into a novel and a world other than my own. I read because it’s a habit, too—I’ve been doing it consistently my whole life, and something feels off if I don’t read.
Write a one-sentence description of yourself as a Reader.
I’m the kind of reader who will try anything once and have strong opinions about it afterwards—I’ll either end up either loving it and raving about it to everyone I know, or loathing it and warning everyone against it!
What is at the top of your TBR pile?
Karamo from Queer Eye’s book. It’s called Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope. My hold just came in from the library and I’m definitely pushing some others back in the stack to read this one next!
What book do you wish you’d never read?
I was very close to saying You are a Badass by Jen Sincero for this question, because I think she has some super problematic ideas (for example, she’s fat-phobic and fat-shaming, she doesn’t believe depression is real, and she encourages people to buy Audis they can’t afford “so they can become the type of person who drives an Audi” / end rant). However, I learn something from each book I read, even if the takeaway is “that’s not for me,” and a firmer understanding of my own beliefs and where I stand in the world.
Describe your favorite place to read.
I have a cozy cheetah print chair in the corner of my living room—one of my dogs will curl up in the crook of my knee and the other one will lay at my feet. It’s basically the ideal reading scenario. In the summertime, we migrate to the back deck or a hammock in the backyard.