How have your reading tastes changed over time?
I don’t really know. I just want to be transported. I’m still intimidated by massive tomes. Looking back, I started out feeling reading was an escape, then a chore, then a habit, then a luxury. Only now I’ve realized what a necessity it is, and how easily it’s taken for granted.
Have you ever gotten in trouble for reading a book?
Well, of course the sexy ’70s classic “Forever,” by Judy Blume, was banned from my school because a Certain Page was getting the students all sweaty. But any number of detentions were worth being caught with it and I had … one or two detentions. Not dissimilarly, years later, I picked up Anaïs Nin’s “Little Birds” while browsing Waterstones and stood frozen there, entranced, for about an hour until an employee had to remind my flushed face that Waterstones isn’t a library and I had to remind myself that erotic short stories should be read in private.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
Definitely Shakespeare. I want to look that guy in the eye. I’d tell him there were other people invited, so he would definitely come. But in the end there’d just be an intense little table in a tiny room, lit by a single candle and me saying: “O.K. Come on. How the f—”
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
Ha. I’m not going to tell you that.
What do you plan to read next?
“Ghost Wall,” by Sarah Moss, and “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.