Authors- They’re Just Like US! #1

One of the glossy magazines dedicated to celebrities (Us Weekly, I believe) has a regular feature showing famous people doing everyday things.  I like seeing rockstars picking up their drycleaning or box office sweethearts biting their nails.  I’m just a voyeur that way.  It’s interesting to see that in some ways they’re ordinary people, just like us. 

In writing this blog I’ve been able to correspond with authors, MY celebrities- MY rockstars, and I began to wonder about them.  Do they like the same books I like?  What do they recommend to their friends?  I don’t have the resources to hire the paparazzi to follow them around and peek into their bedrooms to see what’s on their nightstands, so I decided to pose the same 5 questions to a number of authors.  I got so many great responses that I’ve decided to tackle each question in a separate post.


Linda Merlino, author of Belly of the Whale:  Firehouse  by David Halberstam.

Jennie Shortridge , author of Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe: A rather odd juxtaposition of fiction and nonfiction:  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach. 

Beth Fehlbaum, author of Courage in Patience:  When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Megan Crane, author of Names My Sisters Call Me:  Careless in Red by Elizabeth George.  It’s the latest Lynley mystery, and now that I know George will, in fact, kill off longterm characters, I know that no one is safe! 

Jasmin Rosenberg, author of How the Other Half Hamptons:  The Divorce Party” by Laura Dave, after devouring her debut novel “London is the Best City in America”

Edward Hardy, author of Keeper and Kid:  A Voyage Long and Strange  by Tony Horwitz. 

Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters:   Dirty Words, edited by Ellen Sussman, which contains so many pieces that are funny, surprisingly sweet, and undeniably sexy.  And The Divorce Party, by Laura Dave, which is an incredibly moving story of two women sorting out how to go forward with or without the men in their lives.

Alan Cheuse, author of To Catch the Lightning:  Lost in Uttar Pradesh: New and Selected Stories  by Evan Connell, an old master, and stories by new Irish writer Claire Keegan, a real prodigy (Keegan’s book is titled Walk the Blue Fields).

Mathias Freese, author of Down to a Sunless Sea:  I’m about to begin reading Montaigne’s essays, in part, because Eric Hoffer claimed he learned about writing essays from this master. 

Joshua Henkin, author of Matrimony:  Netherland by Joseph O’Neill.  A terrific novel. 

Susan Woodring  , author of Springtime on Mars:  An Invisible Sign of My Own  by Aimee Bender (I’m on a Bender kick.)

Doreen Orion, author of Queen of the Road:  I’m currently reading a novel by Marisa De Los Santos, LOVE WALKED IN.  The last bookstore I did one of my reading/signing/royal shticks at, A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, gives authors who do events a choice of any book in the store as a gift.  So, I asked what they particularly loved and this was it.  I started it on the plane back last night and I can see why. 

Don’t you just love knowing that Meg Clayton is reading Dirty Words, or that Doreen Orion is reading that Marisa de los Santos book you’ve been eyeing, or that Alan Cheuse is reading Walk the Blue Fields (which, by the way, has a stunning cover- I may have to get it just for that!)? 

Next time we’ll see what books authors couldn’t/didn’t finish reading, and why.  I’ve been known to abandon a book now and then, so I’m very curious to see what books authors let go of before the end.

So..what are YOU reading?  

15 Responses

  1. This is such a great question that I also wonder about. I am currently reading Elizabeth Berg’s Durable Goods, Joy School and True to Form – all following the same young girl, Katie Nash, as she traverses adolescence. As a writer myself, what I want to ask her is: did you intend to write three books about the same character? Each of these appears to stand alone as a single book, but the character is so interesting, you want to follow her. Berg must have thought so also.

    Great post, Lisa!


  2. What a fun feature! These authors are reading some interesting books – perhaps some more fodder for my ginormous wish list…

    It so happens that I’ve just begun reading Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters, but I haven’t gotten too far because those pesky people at work who seem to like me for some reason keep eating lunch with me. When’s a girl supposed to read? 😉 I’m also in the home stretch of Greg Mortensen’s Three Cups of Tea, which is, so far, a pretty good read but is taking me an inordinate amount of time to read.

  3. OMG! What a FANTASTIC post Lisa!! I loved that. I am currently reading THE LAST SUMMER (OF YOU AND ME) by Ann Brashares. I might be able to finish it today before fainlly having a ladies night and going to see SEX & THE CITY and have spicy noodles at a great Korean place. I plan on devoting a bit of my day to watching random episodes of SEX & THE CITY for a little refresher course though so we’ll see what happens. I should be done no later than tomrrow than. I haven’t decided if I like LAST SUMMER though. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I’m mad at it and sometimes I’m bored. 😮

  4. I’m reading The First American by H.W. Brands, when I’m not writing.

  5. What a great idea! I just finished Matrimony by Joshua Henkin and am either going to start The Aviary Gate or Comfort Food both up for reviews. I can’t wait to see tomorrow’s post. Thanks!

  6. Lisa…Great question…let me add that I am all about reading fiction so reading Firehouse is different for me, but it is an incredible read for anyone who wants a peak into that day…9/11…
    Thanks for including me among your authors.
    My best,

  7. I’m reading a great biography of Louisa May Alcott, titled _Miss Alcott’s E-Mail_ by Kit Bakke. It’s very well researched and told from the unique perspective of correspondence between Ms. Bakke in 2005 and Miss Alcott in 1886.
    The odd thing is, I’m not a sci-fi/fantasy fan, yet I have no trouble imaging this exchange of letters that spans centuries! I also just finished reading _Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict_ which involves time travel of sorts.
    I guess that proves that if it’s a well-constructed book I can enjoy it, no matter what the premise!

  8. I think that’s my very favorite question to be asked! I am listening to “The Woman Who Can’t Forget” on audiobook – it’s fascinating. I’m reading “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer and “Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross” by Sigrid Undset. My copy of “Love Walked In” just came today and it’s calling to me….

  9. This is brilliant, Lisa. 🙂

    I’m reading Bunko Babes and Farworld Water Keep…but I just received Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day in the mail, an ARC I snagged from LTER. WOOT!

  10. Fantastic idea! I’m reading The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly.

  11. very clever… 🙂

    i’m reading the new david sedaris book and just finished john elder robison’s book about asperger’s syndrome. (he’s augusten burroughs’s–of running with scissors fame–brother). hmm…is that grammatically correct? lol.

  12. Lisa! You’ve been posting like a maniac! thanks for stopping by… THIS is an awsome post idea, can’t wait to hear more…

  13. […] posed to authors was “What are you currently reading?”.  I got a great response (click HERE to read that post).  I also wanted to know if authors ever abandoned books, the way I sometimes do […]

  14. hi Lisa! this was a contest for the Read-A-Thon but I knew you would get a kick out of it ; wanted to bring to your attn!

    Happy Day, Care

  15. […] lisamm The first question I posed to authors was, “What are you currently reading?”  (click HERE to read that post).  Next I asked, “What was the last book you gave up on, and why?” […]

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