An Independent Literary Publisher Since 1917
What is your favorite Grove book?
Legends of the Fall. I dare you to read — or reread — this collection of novellas. A relatively new addition to our treasured backlist from Jim Harrison — but a true masterpiece.
Which book have you re-read the most?
The End of Beauty by Jorie Graham.
My favorite (that I had nothing to do with) is probably Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? — a book for anyone who loves books and takes refuge in them when life is rough.
What is the first book you read to your children?
The Little Bear stories by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak. I learned to read with them when I was five aboard the Queen Elizabeth II sailing to Japan. I couldn’t enter first grade in Tokyo until I knew how to read. I had nine days. I love those stories still.
What is your favorite book from childhood?
A collection of fairy tales that had originally belonged to my mother as a child, possibly even my grandmother; it was beautifully illustrated and falling apart at the seams.
Karoo by Steve Tesich.
How do you organize your books?
The big bookshelf in our living room holds a row of P.G. Wodehouse novels above semi-organized shelves loosely divided into our personal canon, “to be read,” and “to give away.”
I frequently re-read Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler. Such a brilliant opening: “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought.” I always obey the book.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
George Orwell, George Eliot, and Joseph Conrad. Arthur Conan Doyle would be a close fourth, along with David McCullough.
Before I moved, I organized my books by fiction and nonfiction, alphabetically by author. Since I moved (most of my books are in storage), new books are now stacked everywhere we can find room. We really need to buy some bookcases.
Hanya Yanagihara, Virginia Woolf, and Elena Ferrante (who can teleconference in if they’d rather).
My hypothetical literary dinner party would include David Sedaris, Kelly Link, and Etgar Keret. The following morning I’d expect to find food on the ceiling, blueprints for a time travel machine, and a pigeon to have gotten in through the window.
I seem to only re-read Russian novels with three-word titles: Crime and Punishment and The Master and Margarita, one of my favorite guilty pleasures on the Grove backlist.
Stephen King, O. Henry, and Jack London.
What is your favorite book?
Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans
I’d like to have a picnic at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, on the bank of the Colorado River, with Mary Oliver, Mark Strand, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In tote bags! I’ve racked up quite a collection. I keep a book waiting in each bag — like short stories in my designated Central Park picnic bag — so I’m never without something to read.
What is the first book you
read to your child?
The Carrot Seed (board book). Story by Ruth Krauss, pictures by Crocket Johnson. Still have it; can’t seem to let it go. My son is almost 15. 🙂