I love stories of all kinds, but most of all, I love ones that tell me something real without it having to be a real story at all.
What did you like to read when you were young?
I loved to read everything. And by that I really do mean everything. Cereal boxes. Nancy Drew. My brother’s Mad magazines. Garfield. 1970’s self-help books with titles like “I’m OK – You’re OK” that my mom would pick up at garage sales and leave unread on the coffee table. Reading was how I existed. It helped me tune out living in a house where yelling was the normal volume for talking and cupboard doors were slammed closed not because anyone was mad but because in a large family that’s how you get heard and dinner gets made.
What’s the first book you remember? I remember fake reading Sleeping Beauty, the Golden Book version. But my absolute favorite was Harry, the Dirty Dog – so much so that I wrote my name on every page.
What five desert island books would you choose?
- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken because it’s eerie and the adults all seem terrible and the girls are brave and smart.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman makes me laugh because her social awkwardness and always saying exactly what she’s thinking is something I relate to.
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for its beautiful writing and setting; being sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel might be kind of like being stranded on a desert island.
- The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock because I love the characters so very much.
- More Than This by Patrick Ness because life isn’t always what it seems.
Where is your favorite spot to read? At the bow of a sailboat anchored in the Bahamas. I have never done that. But if I did, it would be my favorite spot.
Is there a book that changed the way you see the world?
I think every book has changed me – some more than others, but I know I feel different after reading a book and the best ones make me think about them and the world differently for long after I have read them. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is one of those books.