The country star, whose new book with Robert K.Oerman is ''Dolly Parton, Songteller,'' is drawn to romance in books.

Q. - Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

I worked on a Christmas show last year, so I got into the spirit of things I read Charles Dickens's  ''A Christmas Carol'' and last summer I read ''The Grapes of Wrath.''

Q.- Describe your ideal reading experience [when, where, what, how].

My ideal reading experience is any minute I have free in my music room, but especially on a rainy off with a fire blazing, wearing my PJs and sitting in a comfy chair.

Q.- What's your favorite book no one else has heard off?

Not enough folks know what a great book ''Kindred,'' by Octavia E.Butler, is. It's kind of tricky to describe but somehow it all works - it's about race relations and there's time travel and romance. It's powerful.

Q.- What book should everybody read before the age of 21?

''To Kill a Mockingbird''

Q.- What book should nobody read until the age of 40?

Any of those AARP instructions manuals or any book about aches and pains

Q.- Which writers - novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets - working today do you admire most?

I love Lee Smith, Rick Bragg and Diana Gabaldon. Also anybody deserves credit who can sit down and type thousands of pages. I don't have that skill.

Q.- Who are your favorite musician-writers? Your favorite memoir by a musician?

Right now, it's ''Simple Dreams,'' by Linda Ronstadt. She both writes and sings like an angel.

Q.- What are the best books about music you've read?

This will sound odd but the thesaurus ! I'm always looking for new ways to rhyme and a good thesaurus has proven to be a great asset to me.

Q.- What moves you most in a work of literature?

I'm a total sap - love and romance, of course, and anything involving children gets me every time. I guess given the songs I've written, that answer is not a big surprise!

Q.- Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

I love historical fiction with a touch of romance - writers like Lee Smith or Diana Gabaldon. I avoid horror.

Q.- How do you organize your books?

There is always one in my hand and I give the rest away. I have book bags everywhere, shelves at every house, and I exchange books with friends and family all the time.

Q.- What's the best book you've ever received as a gift?

I was given my mother's pocket Bible after she died., something I treasure. It's the best book I ever got.

Q.- What kind of reader were you when you were a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

When I was a little kid, my dad didn't want us to have library books around the house because the younger kids would ruin them and he couldn't afford to replace them.

I have always loved ''The Little Engine That I could,'' so I started my Imagination Library with it to show kids that they can do anything.

 I'm really proud that we've given away over 145,000,000 books to kids and have more than 1.7 million children registered around the world - in fact, last September was our highest enrollment of children yet. Books were a lifeline to me as a child - I know they make a difference.

The World Students Society thanks author Dolly Parton.


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