Emma Straub is the author of Fly-Over State, a novella published by FlatmanCrooked. Her short stories have appeared in Five Chapters, Barrelhouse, The Saint Ann's Review, Juked, and many other publications. She is the co-editor of Avery: An Anthology of New Fiction, as well as the co-editor of the Read page of the Dossier Journal website. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and cats and is currently trying not to kill a number of plants. More information can be found at www.emmastraub.net.
what are you reading now
Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer by Steven Millhauser. I read his story collection Dangerous Laughter on my honeymoon in March and have been wanting to read his novels ever since. This book, as far as I can tell so far, is about a very average boy and his psychotically obsessed best friend. It's sort of like what I imagine Mrs. Danvers from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca would have been like as a child.
classic you’ve been meaning to read
I've picked up and put down Updike's Rabbit trilogy in every bookstore I've ever been in, but have somehow never bought the thing. Does that count as a classic?
last book to make you laugh out loud
I recently finished Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, which I wouldn't classify as a 'funny' book, but it certainly made me laugh out loud. The Millhauser book is also hilarious. I'm an easy laugh, should I mention that? Other things that make me laugh: pictures of kittens on the internet.
most treasured book in your collection
There are of course many many books that mean a great deal to me as a collection of sentences (Middlemarch, etc), but there are only two books on my shelf that actually mean something as objects. In high school, when I was a poet, I stole my parents' ancient and gorgeous copies of Frank O'Hara's The Collected Poems and e. e. cummings’s Poems, 1923-1954. I folded down pages and underlined and stuck post-its on almost every page. I don't think my parents are ever getting those books back.
book you borrowed and never returned
I don't borrow very often, but I do have a copy of Cold Comfort Farm that was loaned to me many years ago, as well as a copy of Charles Baxter's Feast of Love that a friend left at my house by accident in college. Is it awful to admit I haven't read either one?
if you could write yourself into any story
Probably one where I could go into another world, a la Narnia or Hogwarts, though people are always trying to kill you in places like that. Maybe just a Jhumpa Lahiri story, where my thoughts would be much more nicely worded.
last reading you attended
I had a reading two days ago, but it seems weird to pick my own. I will say this, however, in my own defense. It was the Largehearted Lit series, where musical accompaniment is expected, and I had my friends sing Billy Joel and the New Kids on the Block. A crowning achievement. Before that, the last reading I went to was the finale of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City Marathon. He read until 4am, though I pooped out at 1:30. There were cookies, and prizes. Every reading should have cookies and prizes.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
I love One Story. Does anyone not say One Story? I also love the The Paris Review, and my dear FlatmanCrooked.
best thing you’ve read online recently
I read The Rumpus every day. Also, The Nervous Breakdown and The Millions.
most anticipated upcoming release
My father, Peter Straub, has a really amazing novel coming out in February. It's called A Dark Matter and it will make you see stars.
recommended reading list:
Novels by Really Smart Ladies Who I Would Be Afraid to Approach at a Cocktail Party
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Great Man by Kate Christensen
- The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
- Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy
- The Keep by Jennifer Egan
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri