Melanie McManus’s debut, Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail, highlights her passion for the outdoors.
Melanie McManus recently visited Reading Group Choices to read and discuss her work with an audience. Melanie also kindly took the time to answer our questions after she shared part of her inspiring book.
Reading Group Choices: What books are currently stacked next to your bed/on your desk/in your pile-to-read?
Melanie McManus: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, The House at Sugar Beach by Helen White and The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.
RGC: What book did you most recently recommend to someone else?
MM: Evicted by Matthew Desmond.
RGC: What was your favorite book when you were a child?
MM: I loved Harriet the Spy, and the Nancy Drew, Beanie Malone and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.
RGC: Who are your favorite writers?
MM: I’m a person who doesn’t have favorites in any category (movies, books, colors, etc.), but I do like Jane Hamilton’s work. And she’s a Wisconsinite!
RGC: Were you ever embarrassed about a book you loved?
MM: I’ve never been embarrassed about this, but I love the Harry Potter books. A lot of serious readers scoff at them, but I think they’re great.
RGC: Do you have a favorite musician or genre of music?
MM: I like almost all music except country and rap. Re: musicians, I think Josh Groban has the finest voice of any male I’ve heard in my lifetime.
RGC: Is there a creator who is doing something you find amazing?
MM: Dr. Evermor (Tom Every) is now in a nursing home, but he created many incredible pieces of scrap metal art that are on display at Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park, which is south of Devil’s Lake. If you haven’t visited it yet, you should.
RGC: What do you wish you knew more about?
MM: This doesn’t quite answer the question, but I wish I was fluent in Spanish. That had been my plan—I was going to double-major in journalism and Spanish in college—but I ended up swapping out Spanish for political science. I don’t regret it, but I wish I had kept up my Spanish.
RGC: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
MM: My husband’s late father. He died in his mid-40s, so I never got to meet him. But he sounds like quite the character. Plus, I think I’d learn a little more about my husband by seeing what his dad was like.
RGC: Vinyl, cassette, CD or digital? Typewriter, notebook, tablet or computer?
MM: Vinyl. Computer.
RGC: What is your most meaningful place?
MM: Interesting question. I’ll name three, since I can never pick one favorite: Lake Michigan (in Sheboygan, where I grew up), the Ice Age Trail (northern segment near Price County) and the Vía de la Plata Camino de Santiago in Spain.
RGC: Can you share a favorite line from a creative work (book/play/film/song)?
MM: Here are two:
“Levitte the perfumer is flabby and plump, basted in his own self-importance.” – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
“Violet Brasso had a problem that grew bigger each time she visited it, and she visited it often.” – Driftless by David Rhodes
RGC: What do you enjoy most about doing a reading or talking about your book?
MM: I love sharing my enthusiasm for the Ice Age Trail, and educating people about the trail and its importance. I also enjoy meeting people who are fellow trail enthusiasts.