If you are always on the lookout for a book to add to your list, you might like those interviews of celebrities or successful industrialists who mention the latest book they have read. The New York Times always conveniently tucks one into page two of their “Sunday Review.” This week, Kate Murphy obliges with her interview of Patricia Fleet, the voice behind the AT&T announcements.
What is Fleet reading?
A book I really enjoyed was recommended to me by the manager of the liquor store in this podunk town in Kentucky. She didn’t have the cabernet sauvignon I was looking for but recommended a book – “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. It is fantasy and I’ve never like fantasy, but this just grabs you.”
When someone asks me what I have read, I usually draw a blank – one of the reasons I write lists and comments – to remind myself not only of what I read, but whether or not I liked it.
Francine Prose, author of My New American Life (which I would have forgotten had I not reviewed it), notes that this problem strikes her too. Her response to “What are you reading these days?” in an interview for The Atlantic on her book Reading Like a Writer:
“…whenever anyone asks you for a book recommendation or what you’re reading, everything just flies out of your mind; you just can’t think of a single book you’ve ever read…So now at least I have this list and I can say, Go look at the list. Don’t ask me. Read the list!”
I can relate; I have a long list.
Still looking for ideas? Prose concedes:
“… let me look at my desk and see what’s on it…
- The Collected Works of Jane Bowles.
- A collection of essays by Janet Malcolm.
- The new book by Daniel Mendelson which I just reviewed called The Lost, about a search for his relatives lost in the holocaust.
- Huckleberry Finn.
- A book called Stuart: A Life Backwards, by Alexander Masters, which is a strange and terrific biography of a homeless person.
I’ll just add those to my list of books to read – thank you very much. What’s on yours?