Marie Abad loved her job as a senior vice president at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, where she was one of the highest-ranking women in the firm. But it was equally important to her to find an escape from work, said her husband, Rudy, and she found that through the hundreds of books she went through each year.
Ms. Abad, 49, read on the train commuting from Long Island to the World Trade Center, and she read on vacation. Each October, she and her husband would spend three weeks in Hawaii — a tradition that started on their honeymoon and continued over the next two decades — and every year she would make sure she had plenty to read. Hawaii meant down time: days on end when the biggest decision was where to have dinner, and the passage of time was marked by the leisurely flutter of turned pages — novels, biographies, celebrity tell-alls.
"She'd go through eight books in three weeks, and these were not little books," Mr. Abad said. "I know because I did the packing."
Ms. Abad, who was born and raised in Queens, did not plan on a career in business. She studied sociology at Queens College and dreamed of being a teacher. She and her husband had plotted out the lives they would lead when the workaday world could be left behind: six months of the year traveling was their plan. And of course, a world of books to explore.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 7, 2002.