Yesterday, I posted a review about a wonderful new novel WHO BY FIRE by Diana Spechler. I adored this book, so you can imagine how excited I am that Ms. Spechler agreed to write a guest post for me about her favorite book!
Since my first novel hit the shelves in September, a lot of people have asked me, reasonably enough, “What’s your favorite book?” Unfortunately, whenever anyone asks, particularly if it’s during a Q&A and I’m in front of an audience, sweaty microphone in sweaty palm, I draw a blank.
What is my favorite book? Have I ever read a book? I can envision my book shelves, but I can’t see what’s on them. I can envision myself curled up on countless couches, stretched out on countless lounge chairs, sitting in countless trains, holding countless paperbacks, but when I squint to see the titles, they are invisible. So then a battle rages in my head:
“I should just say Middlesex.”
“No, don’t say that. It’s an Oprah book.”
“So? People love Oprah.”
“I’ll sound pretentious.”
“On The Road?”
“You never finished On The Road. And isn’t On The Road what people who don’t read say when they want to sound like they read? Then they always go, ‘I’m really into the Beats,’ but they don’t know who the Beats are and neither do you.”
“Yes, I do.”
“As if you’ve read Ginsberg.”
“Fine…The Poisonwood Bible.”
“Shut up. It was not.”
“It totally was.”
“I am freaking out. No, I am seriously freaking out. Can I say The Other Boleyn Girl?”
“Are you joking? Tell me you’re joking.”
“Sure. If you want everyone to wonder if you’re a pervert. Then you should say that thing you always say when you start talking about Lolita. About how you found yourself cheering for a child molester, and that’s how you knew Nabokov was a master. That’ll win your crowd over. That will be totally awesome.”
“The Unbearable Lightness of Being?”
“You couldn’t even get through it.”
“Everyone likes The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”
“Except you. Stop it.”
“Catcher In The Rye?”
“Are you fourteen?”
“The Great Gatsby?”
“Are you fifteen?”
“Are you a hundred? And when the hell did you read Wuthering Heights?”
“Should I just plug one of my friends’ novels?...Oh, god, this is awful. What about Prep? Can I say Prep?”
“If you want to sound frivolous.”
“Prep’s not frivolous.”
“But some people just know the cover. That J. Crew belt. Can’t you come up with anything that wasn’t a best-seller?”
“Um…was Night a best-seller?”
“You are kidding. You are not serious. Who picks a Holocaust memoir as her favorite book? Are you insane? Besides. Oprah book.”
At this point, after the long, uncomfortable pause for which I am one hundred percent to blame, I usually wind up saying, “What is my favorite book? Have I ever read a book?”
Then everyone laughs to be nice, but they’re obviously a little disappointed, especially the person who asked the question and wanted a straight answer, and then I go home and think,
“I’m going to come up with a stock response to this question. I have to come up with a stock response to this question.”
But so far, I haven’t.
I absolutely laughed out loud when I read this because it's so true! I'm one of those people who are always asking this question (to authors, bloggers, friends, etc.). Even though I always want to know everyone's favorite book, I'm always struggling to come up with one of my own. I usually say TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD; and while it's a terrific book, I'm afraid that I don't sound very original!
A big thanks goes out to Diana Spechler for taking time from her very busy schedule to stop by Booking Mama!