Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go Bernadette and Today Will Be Different, revealed her reading habits in a Boston Globe interview on her way to the Boston Book Festival this year. Sample tries to read three books a week –
“I can’t think of anything I am more afraid of having missed out on in life than reading important works of literature.”
Always looking for another book, I was delighted to discover her recommendations, thanks to my friend who faithfully sends me Boston Globe clippings. I was also encouraged by Semple’s attitude on not finishing books:
“I’ve heard some people say they will give a book fifty pages. That is too much…if a book is too obtuse on the first page I feel as if the writer doesn’t have my best interests at heart…I’m pathological about how quickly I put a book aside….”
I’ll probably stay by my rule of reading the number of pages of one hundred minus my age before giving up on a book; it gets closer to Semple’s formula every year. Do you finish every book you start?
Books Semple is Reading Now (of course, I immediately went to the library to find them):
- The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky
Leah inherits a red sports car from an old friend and mentor who died in a car accident. As she journeys to San Francisco to claim the car, Leah revisits past lives and loves.
- Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich (Nobel prize winner)
Personal accounts of the worst nuclear reactor accident in history which contaminated three quarters of Europe.
- Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Told from the perspective of the child in the mother’s womb, McEwan respins Shakespeare’s Hamlet, turning the tale into a modern tragedy of betrayal and murder.
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Read my review here.
- A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne
In 1765, Sterne, facing death, travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and after returning, described his travels from a sentimental point of view through the adventures of his alter ego, Rev. Mr. Yorick. First published in 1768.
Semple’s Favorite Classics:
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys