Whatcha Reading, Chelsea Hodson?

Every week we ask an interesting figure what they're digging into. Have ideas who we should reach out to? Let it fly: info@seattlereviewofbooks.com. Want to read more? Check out the archives.

Chelsea Hodson is the Brooklyn-based author of the book of essays Tonight I'm Someone Else, and the chapbook Pity the Animal. She'll be making a Seattle appearance this Monday, July 2nd, at the Elliott Bay Book Company, in conversation with Christopher Frizzelle. Personally, I would ask her about Mons Tua Vita Mea writing workshops she runs in Sezze Romano, Italy, because that looks like a dream come true.

What are you reading now?

I just started reading an advanced review copy of Floating Notes by Babak Lakghomi, a novella which comes out soon from Tyrant Books. I really love seeing what writers can accomplish in books less than a hundred pages, so I look forward to finishing the book soon. The back cover copy says, "There are no clear answers, there are no solutions," which is right up my alley — these days I embrace ambiguity in art more than anything.

I'm also halfway through another Tyrant book — Vincent and Alice and Alice by Shane Jones, which won't be out until next year, and encompasses my favorite combination: laugh-out-loud funny and knife-in-your-heart sad.

What did you read last?

I've just finished Black Swans by Eve Babitz, one of my favorite writers. The first story opens with a page that says: "Jealousy — It's only temporary: you either die, or get better... Something we used to say about life in general, feeling sophisticated and amusing in bars, back in the days when we thought how you behaved was the fault of other people." I don't know how anyone could stop reading after a first page like that. There's a glamour to Eve Babitz's writing that I appreciate, and a kind of confidence that makes anything she writes sound like a universal truth.

What are you reading next?

I bought Bethany C Morrow's novel, MEM, after being really impressed by hearing her read from it in New York a few weeks ago. In this book, "Mems" are memories that have been extracted from one's own mind and manifested into a complete separate being. I really liked what I heard, so I'm excited to read more.

I also just received an advanced review copy of Destroy All Monsters by Jeff Jackson, which will be published later this year. Subtitled "The Last Rock Novel," this book has two sides — Side A and Side B — and can be read either side first. I've always admired Jeff Jackson's experiments, and I think this novel seems unlike anything else I've ever read, so I'm really looking forward to diving in.