Loving the book meme as found on Bloglily’s site, So, just had to do it. What is it? Well, it is my first interview with NPR, of course. They are talking to me because my book of poems, The Revolution’s Last Virgin, did the unthinkable and got onto the NYT top sellers list.
So, what’s one book that changed your life?
Just one? Ha ha ha. If I can only choose one, It would have to be the Reader’s Digest Collected Fairy Tales. I read them as a child. They were the fairy tales, from Anderson to Grimm, in their original, un-Disney-fied glory. They taught me the difference between good story craft and hamming it up for the masses. I took those books and used things in them as the basis for the first short stories I ever wrote at age nine. I still have them, The Fairy Tales, I mean.
Name one book you’ve read more than once.
The Little House on the Prairie Books. When I was growing up, the top readers got to read them and do all these cool projects in third grade. They tested our reading orally, and I had a latent stutter, so I didn’t make the cut. I felt let down and rejected. So, I read them on my own, over and over again. They became a bit self defining, as I still think of myself the way that Charles described Laura, as a “little french work horse.”
One book you’d want on a desert island?
OK, this is a tough one. Collected short stories of Marquez, I guess. There is always a surprise therein.
One book that made you laugh?
Queen For a Day. It is a book of poems by Denise Duhammel. Her Barbie poems, in-particular, are great.
One book that made you cry?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. They path that this precocious little guy takes to accepting his father’s death is great. And there are lots of little chuckles to temper those tears, too. And it’s just great writing.
One book I wish had been written
I tried to write a novel a while back. It was about a towns two outcasts, a guy who works in a crematorium and is famous for accidentally shooting his brother as a child and a woman who is horribly scarred but has had an oddly charmed existence. They get to know each other in the midst of a snow storm that shuts half the town down. There was a lot more, but that’s that. It never got finished.
One book I wish had never been written.
While I love the first amendment, I can’t help but think of mien Kamph with this question (and I probably spelled it wrong, but oh, well).
And what are you reading now?
OK, even though you obviously only want me to tell you about one book, I have to list three:
Feather Crowns – a great story about multiple births in rural Kentucky.
The Corrections – Not far enough into it for a blurb.
You Shall Know Our Velocity – I have been reading this for forever, and it is great. I love Eggars.
And finally, what is one book you’ve been meaning to read?
The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I should have read it forever ago, but there it is, lonely on the shelf.