TPQ: What are you currently reading?
GG: I am currently reading The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön.
TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?
GG: That’s a tough question! I’d say that the best book I’ve ever read was The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky because of its complexities and the worst one was the Dialectical Behavior Therapy manual by Marsha Linehan for its insulting tediousness and what I consider the co-optation of popularized American Buddhism by psychotherapy.
TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?
GG: The book I cherished most as a child was Madeline and the Bad Hat, by Ludwig Bemelmans.
TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?
GG: My favorite author in childhood was Beverly Cleary.
TPQ: First book to really own you?
GG: The first book I’d say that really owned me was On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. I read it in high school and it represented complete freedom to me.
TPQ: Favourite male and female author?
GG: My favorite male author is Fyodor Dostoevsky for his brilliance and insight to the human condition and my favorite female author is Barbara Kingsolver for her very high quality of storytelling in fiction.
A Berlin Book Tower in memory of the Nazi book burning.
TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?
GG: My preference is for fiction because I love to follow each author’s unique style of character and story line development.
TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?
GG: I’d have to say that the autobiography that most impressed me was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. I was really captured by how she was able to find her voice again after suffering serious trauma. A year after I read nearly all her books I got to attend one of her readings and met her in person following the event. She was an astoundingly gracious woman whose voice I shall never forget. That she focused all her attention on me when we were conversing really impressed me because she had no airs about her. She was totally real and down home, real Southern American graciousness.
TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?
GG: There are far too many authors and books I point blank refuse to read to list here!
TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?
GG: I’ve shared many books with others over the years so that they would more fully understand me and those sorts of books have continually changed for me as I’ve aged, of course. So few people I’ve given books to have actually even read them! So I’ve stopped doing that because I really think that there is no book other than my own writing, my own poems and prose writing, that could actually help anyone to more fully understand me. Every author’s vision is so much their own and though there have been books that I have seen myself in they are still not me and since I love to write so much myself it is my own voice I hope that assists someone in more fully understanding me.
TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?
GG: The last book I gave as a present was Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, to my son.
TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?
GG: I’m not a big fan of turning books into movies because the writer’s voice is so often lost.
TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?
GG: I used to think I had “must reads” to attend to when I was in grad school for literature years ago but ever since then I only feel compelled to read something when my current interests and curiosity are piqued by articles or prose pieces and stories I find online or when a friend recommends a title to me. I think I lost all compulsion to read any particular author’s magnus opus after I ditched grad school. Haha!
Geraldine - thanks for doing this.ReplyDelete
I never read The Idiot but loved Karamazov: not so much Crime & Punishment. Terrific writer - grappled with the human condition and existentialist themes so well.
My wife loves Maya Angelou but I have never actually read a full work by her.