Jessica Anthony's debut novel The Convalescent was published by McSweeney's Books in July, and will be translated into Italian by Rizzoli/USA. Her fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading and elsewhere. She currently lives in Portland, Maine with her husband, Jon, and their dog, Roxy.
what are you reading now
Right now I'm reading The Women by T.C. Boyle, and loving it. I am an enormous Boyle fan. His prose is so hairy and big-gutted and his characters never try to be everything all at once.
classic you’ve been meaning to read
The great thing about finishing a novel is that you rediscover all these giant hunks of time in your day to read again. So I've been whittling away at my list. I just finished Jude the Obscure. I bought that book in 1997 and literally carried it around the world with me for 12 years. I've finally read it, and liked it quite a bit. I also just finished Lady Chatterly's Lover, which was hilarious. I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, riding the upstairs of a double-decker bus and laughing my ass off. Everyone was always about to come to their "crisis." Fantastic. Next up on my list of classics is Cyrano de Bergerac.
last book you finished in a single sitting
The Verificationist by Donald Antrim. An out-of-body experience with a gathering of psychologists in a pancake house. I mean come on! Couldn't put it down.
book you borrowed and never returned
I still owe my friend Rick Wormwood his first-edition copy of Nabokov's Speak, Memory. He will never get it back. He lives only a few miles from me and could break into my house and take it. Once Wormwood left a half rack of Corona in my garage with a note: Rick Wormwood moves like a thief in the fucken night, and despite even this generosity he will not be seeing his Nabokov again.
strangest book you’ve ever read
You and Your Retarded Child by Samuel A. Kirk, Merle B. Karnes, Winifred D. Kirk. This book was published in 1955 and given to me by the writer Tom Hopkins. He knows I like weird stuff, but this book was downright bizarre. They even use the word "mongoloid," and have a chapter entitled: "How Retarded Is Your Child?"
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
Herzog by Saul Bellow. The dust jacket is missing, and there it sits with its scruffy tan cover and green letters. I have read only the first chapter. It's looking at me now. It seems depressed.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
It would have to be Hannah Tinti's One Story. One Story is delivered in these amazing little pastel-colored packets, and each issue contains only one short story. It's nice to read short fiction without digging through advertising, or without a story having to bounce off other poems, other unrelated stories (or worse, essays). It is one selection of short fiction in its simplest (and strongest) form.
best thing you’ve read online recently
"Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood" by Michael Chabon. (I read it online, though it was published in The New York Review of Books a week ago.) It examines something now seeming to be lost to all of us: the ability for children to wander freely and create the rules that govern their own worlds.
most anticipated upcoming release
I am looking forward to reading Daniel Nester's How to Be Inappropriate, a collection of essays by Soft Skull Press.
recommended reading list:
Books I Know My Dog Would Like If She Could Read
A few years ago, my husband and I adopted a brown lab/bluetick coonhound mix from a rescue shelter in Georgia.
- The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- The Zoo Story by Edward Albee
- I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
- The Sun is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen
- The Room by Harold Pinter
- Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens