Amelia Gray is a writer living in Austin, TX. She is the author of AM/PM, published by Featherproof Books, and Museum of the Weird, due Summer 2010 through Fiction Collective 2. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, and Caketrain, among others. She blogs at ameliagray.com.
what are you reading now
I got a bunch of great books in the course of driving around on tour, and I'm sampling all of them at once like I'm at the counter at Luby's. Blake Butler's Scorch Atlas is warmed-up slaw. Big World by Mary Miller is an ice cream scoop of cottage cheese. The Show that Smells by Derek McCormack is crispy macaroni. Thomas Cooper's Phantasmagoria is banana pudding.
classic you’ve been meaning to read
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It was chosen for a book club that I was in about six months ago. The moment it was chosen, the book club immediately dissolved under its weight. Maybe we'll get the club back together and do it. It was a good choice. Classics deserve to be read by a group that will sit quietly and talk about them.
last book to make you laugh out loud
The Cradle by Patrick Somerville has a line in the middle that caused me to laugh out loud on an airplane.
book you borrowed and never returned
The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt. I was told to keep it after I took it into the bath. I intended to never return Jesus' Son but my plan was discovered. Actually I think that I was supposed to give Phantasmagoria back. Sorry, everyone.
strangest book you’ve ever read
Historical prize goes to As I Lay Dying. New blood goes to Gary Lutz. I'd say Ulysses but I think of it more of a brick you bury in a foundation rather than a book.
last audiobook you listened to
The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I listened to it while driving from San Antonio to El Paso at the end of 2007. I had to consult my email archives to figure out exactly when. I said this on 1/3/08: "The best book on CD was The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I didn't get through all of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter but my god it sucked." In hindsight, I was not in the right place emotionally for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
favorite book from childhood
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin immediately comes to mind because I just read part of it again, aloud, in a van. It sort of holds up in terms of some cleverness and puns but I think it is a little too repetitive. Children's literature stoops down too low today. Let's return to the golden age when the weirdest writing out there was for the kids. Twain, Kipling, Stevenson. I'll continue below.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
Persepolis. I think I wanted to prove that I knew the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel. It worked!
best american short stories, pen/o. henry prizes, or the pushcart prize anthology
Dzanc's Best of the Web
collected stories of
Shirley Jackson. My friend has a piece of one of her bones.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
Keyhole, for spreading their Digest around Nashville and for picking Phantasmagoria as a book.
best thing you’ve read online recently
"Meat From a Meat Man" by Lindsay Hunter at Eyeshot.
most anticipated upcoming release
How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace (Rose Metal Press). I heard him read some of it in Chicago at the beginning of the year and I think it's going to be just what I need to get through some weeks.
recommended reading list:
Children's Books That Will Drive Your Shit Insane
The Golden Age of Children's Literature happened sometime between 1865 and 1910, when the Victorians were just coming up with the idea that childhood was an actual period of life and that children could have special clothes and books that weren't all about sweeping chimneys and dying young. Writers during this time had no idea how to handle this idea and immediately wrote some of the weirdest fiction possible. Not everything from this list is from the Golden Age but all of it either informs it or draws heavily from it.
- Der Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- Children's and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
- Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett