What are you reading now?
I’m reading Helen DeWitt’s novel, Lightning Rods. Now that I’m freelancing I have some time to catch up on a few of the books I missed now that I’m not frantically trying to read new things all the time. I don’t even want to try to explain what the premise of Lightning Rods is because wow, it’s a doozy. Let’s just say that its treatment of women in the workplace is particularly disturbing and apropos in the #MeToo era. It’s one of those satires of corporate culture that I’d like to believe is too wacky and too dystopic to be true, but I never say never to anything anymore.
What did you read last?
I was just in conversation with Elif Batuman for the paperback launch of The Idiot, and she is one of the smartest and funniest people ever. So I revisited the novel, and I got caught up in it just as much as the first time. I have never read such an earnest coming-of-age novel that was so much about intellectual curiosity (it’s set during the heroine’s first year at Harvard in 1995) and how to craft one’s own narrative. It’s an actual campus novel that doesn’t have much sex or drugs or partying in it but who cares? It’s about falling in love with ideas, as well as one pretentious upperclassman who describes a dog as such: “It has such soulful eyes. They’re somehow Dostoevskian.” What a dick, right? Perfection.
What are you reading next?
I'm working on a piece about true crime, so I recently read Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer, which will change the way I read any other work of true crime from now on. It will remind me to consider the role of the journalist in the telling of a story that’s meant to entertain and horrify in equal measures. With this in mind, next up is The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a book about the Golden State Killer that will be published posthumously. Author Michelle McNamara’s suddenly died while writing the book, and so it was up to her husband, Patton Oswalt, to tie up the loose ends. Tragedy upon tragedy, and yet I’m eager to read the piece of art that resulted.