Any favorite Mississippi or Louisiana authors you’d like to recommend?
There are many: Ernest Gaines, Natasha Trethewey, Donna Tartt, Richard Wright, Margaret Walker and Robert Olen Butler are a few I adore.
Which classic book did you recently read for the very first time?
Carson McCullers’s “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.” The richness of her characters was really remarkable and informative. I loved that they had such interior lives and vision, but then spoke in speech that was true and real.
Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — functioning now do you respect most?
Again, there are so many: Jacqueline Woodson; Colson Whitehead; Celeste Ng; Natalie Bakopoulos; Justin St. Germain; Molly Antopol; J. M. Tyree; Michael McGriff; Quan Barry; Kevin Young; Jericho Brown; Clint Smith; Daniel José Older; along with Kima Jones are a couple of
What kinds of books provide you with the most reading pleasure these days?
I’ve almost completed “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” and it is great in the best of ways: filled with experience and compelling characters and puzzle and surprisingly poetic terminology. And it has pushed me near to tears more than a few times. I believe I will find myself studying children’s literature since I work on my next novel, which needs me to read a lot about slavery. I want children’s lit’s lightness.
Which genres do you avoid?
None. I read everything. When I say everything, I examine all: children’s literature, Y.A., science fiction, fantasy, romance — I read everything. Each genre fulfills. Each publication tells me something.
How would you prefer to see? Paper or digital? 1 book at a time or a few? Morning or night?
Books are my favorite, but I own an e-book reader. They are suitable for traveling. I read many books simultaneously, which means I read slower if I handle one publication at a time than I do. However, I guess I’ve a good deal of reading demands. And since I have two kids I read. After my kids fall asleep, the bulk of my studying happens. In case a book is extremely great, well, I resign myself to becoming only four or five hours of sleep, and I read till 3 a.m.
What publication could people be surprised to discover on your own shelves?
I read everything, so no one ought to be surprised.
What is the best book you have ever received as a gift?
As soon as I graduated from school as an undergraduate, my dad delivered me Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.” It turned out to be a paperback in 1999, and it is much more immortal today.
Who’s your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?
My beloved fictional hero is out of my youth: Aerin, from “The Hero and the Crown.” I read it when I was 8, and then again and again during my youth and adolescence. The heroine is a girl who confronts her allies and comes old, has felt her whole life that is alien and unloved and saves the world in the long run. As a nerdy 8-year-old bookworm, how can I not love her eternally? My favorite villain is Ms. Coulter from the “His Dark Materials” series. Her evil is enchanting, wrapped as it is in feeling. Since I really don’t think about literature it is hard for me to answer this question with examples from literature.
What type of reader were you personally as a kid? Authors and which youth books stick with you?
This is when I turned into a studying glutton. I loitered in the library and picked books off the plate. I read a whole lot of British children’s literature from accident –“The Secret Garden”; “A Little Princess”; “Five Children and It”; the Narnia series, etc. — so much so that I confused American spellings and British spellings till I had been in high school. Additionally, I read a slew of books. If the word “witch” or the title of a witch had been in the title, I read it: “The Witch Family”; “Little Witch”; “The Witch of Blackbird Pond”; along with “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth.” And lastly, I found myself drawn to books about separate girls: “Harriet the Spy”; “Island of the Blue Dolphins”; “Julie of the Wolves”; “In the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”; “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”; the most “Pippi Longstocking” books; along with the “Anne of Green Gables” series are a couple of I think all the time. Reading about them helped me to find the type of person I wanted to be.
If you were able to need the president to read 1 book, what would it be?
“The Half Has Never Been Told.” It is a vital book for anybody who seeks to know that the America we live in now.
You’re arranging a literary dinner party. Which three writers, alive or dead, do you invite?
You’re killing me. O.K. One, William Faulkner: he’d be an enjoyable drunk. 2, James Baldwin: while being lively and witty, he had temper Faulkner’s drunken foolishness. Along with three, Octavia Butler, because toward the end of the night, I am pretty sure she’d make a few revelatory pronouncements that could blow our mind.
Disappointing, overrated, just not great: What novel did you feel as though you were supposed to enjoy, and didn’t? Do you recall?
I’ve been trying to finish “Swann’s Way,” from Marcel Proust, for a long time. When I return, I have a rest, get around halfway through , and then have to begin all over again. It is not that “Swann’s Way” isn’t great; I just do not have the time or mental focus to finish it at this time.
Who’d you wish to write your life story?
I don’t want anybody to write my life story. I did it in “Guys We Reaped,” and that was gruesome enough.
What do you want to read next?
“The Unnatural World,” with David Biello; “Who Rules the World? ,” by Noam Chomsky; “Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded,” by Sage Blackwood; “The Cooking Gene,” by Michael W. Twitty; “Night Sky With Exit Wounds,” by Ocean Vuong.
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