What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus. It is such a clever and beautiful book.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
It’s actually been a long time since I’ve read a classic. However, part of my summer reading project includes reading classics I’ve not read before. First on the list: One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Do you re-read books And if yes, what was your last re-read?
Certain books, yes. My most recent reread was Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson. Winterson is simply masterful, and I go back to her writing again and again for inspiration.
What are your go-to genres?
Honestly, I read just about everything. Contemporary fiction. Fantasy. Speculative fiction. Give me a good book from just about any genre, and I’m a happy reader.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan and Happy Go Lucky, by David Sedaris.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
Both. I bookmark to mark my place. I dogear pages I’d like to go back to and reread.
What is your ideal reading setting?
A quiet room with a lot of sunshine.
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
Whenever I get up to the Ann Arbor area, I make it my business to stop into Literati, a wonderful and cozy place.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I was in first or second grade, and I’d written an angry note to another kid who had been especially hateful to me. I used the initials “MF” in place of the expletive. I knew it was a bad thing to call someone, so that was my way of being careful. I wasn’t careful enough. My teacher intercepted that note and told my parents. I got in BIG trouble for my language choice. That left an impression on me about the power of language and why being careful isn’t always a useful or protective choice. There are times when it’s worth it to just say what you mean. Given that my punishment was going to be the same in any event, I should have used the full-on expletive. That kid really did deserve it.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
To Shakespeare and Company in Paris.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
In my office at home or at the kitchen table.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It tends to energize me. I am endlessly fascinated by the seemingly miraculous experience of having characters and scenes materialize in my head as if out of nowhere and how it can all result in a coherent story. There is nothing else like it.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have one unpublished novel. It is the first one I ever wrote. But I’m in the process of rewriting it now, so fingers crossed that that will change.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, I generally read them. Fortunately, I’ve not yet had a terrible review. But I image it would be difficult to process. For the good ones, I’m grateful.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To worry less.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
Often, out for a walk or a ride or experimenting in the kitchen.
What are your three favorite things right now?
Cooking, doing home tours (we’re house hunting) and rewriting that novel.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
The beach, particularly the one my family goes to in Florida, because I love the ocean.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
A fish sandwich and a glass of crisp white wine.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
My father, my mother, Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Madonna and Audre Lorde.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, and who would play you?
Drama. Viola Davis.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
Succession. Particularly the episode [spoiler alert] about Logan Roy’s death.
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
Bat Out of Hell, by Meat Ball. It would be the fulfillment of a recent dare.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
That’s tough. Probably Away, by Amy Bloom.
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