Claudia Smith lives and writes in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her collections are The Sky Is A Well And Other Shorts and Put Your Head In My Lap. Her site is www.claudiaweb.net.
what are you reading now
The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy
classic you’ve been meaning to read
I don't know. Something big, fat, and Russian. I've read the abridged translation of War and Peace; I should pick up the unabridged, someday. No, I've changed my mind. Someday I really will read all of Remembrance of Things Past.
last book you finished in a single sitting
After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys
most treasured book in your collection
It's funny, I feel more attached to the words than the books themselves. It sounds arrogant but it is probably my first chapbook, The Sky Is A Well And Other Shorts. It was beautifully made, hand sewn, and it has an introduction Ron Carlson wrote. And it was a limited printing, so there aren't any more of them.
book you borrowed and never returned
Oh, I hate to admit I do this. I'm not going to say.
favorite book from childhood
Well, I still love Charlotte's Web.
most challenging book you’ve ever read
I read Ulysses from cover to cover when I was 18. That was challenging.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I think this has always been something to do with art. I would pick someone who wasn't terribly famous, or at least, what I thought of as not being a household name. You know, I think I'm lying. I'm not sure I've ever done this. I have a memory of putting on Charles Ives and placing a Chinese art book on the table once to impress somebody, but I'm not sure that really happened.
Nowadays, nobody is really impressed by my coffee table. It's got permanent marker scribbles on it. It's an art table, dinner table, and homework table, but not really a prop for books.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
Does The Sun count? I don't subscribe to any, honestly. We're on a budget right now.
best thing you’ve read online recently
Well, I read this again recently because of the time of year.
"Bing Crosby Dreaming at The Lamp Post Inn" by Elizabeth Ellen
most anticipated upcoming release
I'm looking forward to Joe Young's Easter Rabbit. Oh, I have to order that...
recommended reading list:
Well, because I'm trying to write a paper about Mary McCarthy, and I'm back at school, how about the campus novel? I haven't read most of these books – can I still recommend books I haven't read? Most of these are books I want to read someday.
- The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy
- Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
- The Professor's House by Willa Cather
- Eating People Is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury
- Japanese by Spring by Ishmael Reed