Patrick Somerville’s third book, The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, comes out this November. He lives with his wife in Chicago and teaches creative writing at Northwestern University.
what are you reading now
I’m reading Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. One more step in my lifelong goal of reading every funny thing every British writer ever wrote.
classic you’ve been meaning to read
I keep trying to read D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow and for some reason, every time I start I get interrupted with having to read this or that other book or losing the book or something else going wrong. What’s strange is that I love the first 50 pages and always have every intention of finishing it whenever I think about it or see it sitting on my bookshelf. I feel like fate is against me. This has been going on for 6 years.
most treasured book in your collection
I object to the idea of treasuring a particular book, maybe because I so often destroy them as I read or lose them or give them away to people or spill juice on them. Or because whatever is in a book gets into you, and that’s the thing that should be treasured. I don’t really understand book collecting, which seems to emphasize the wrong thing completely? But this is just me being difficult. Okay. If I still had it, I think my copy of Dragons of Spring Dawning, which I got autographed by BOTH Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman when I went to GenCon at age 13, would have been it. But I lost it. See? So I will instead go with my old Penguin edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays, which is unfortunately not signed, but which gives me a warm feeling whenever I look at it. There are only a couple books you’ll find that actually change who you are and permanently alter your consciousness. That book did that to me when I was in my early 20s and completely lost. My copy of that book is worth no money and the binding is bent to shit.
if you could write yourself into any short story
I would like to be one of the old-timers hanging out on the pier alongside Farte, Jr. in Barry Hannah’s “Water Liars.”
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
Does my desk in high school count? Because I got The Tropic of Cancer when I was a senior and kept placing it prominently on my desk before the start of every class, hoping it would stir up some kind of censorship controversy with one of my teachers or at the very least get a girl interested. Nobody cared.
collected stories of
Bruce Jay Friedman.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
best thing you’ve read online recently
I think Bob McGinn’s recent “Scouting Report on the Vikings” was, as is always the case with McGinn’s Packers coverage, excellent.
most anticipated upcoming release
Hannah Pittard’s The Fates Will Find Their Way, which comes out in January. I know Hannah and think she’s an incredibly talented writer, and there’s something about that book, something about the combination of a terrible event with this unexpectedly bright and fantastical storyline that feels inventive, warm, and unlike anything I’ve really read before. Hannah’s going to be a star.
recommended reading list:
Stories Containing the Most Outrageously Speculative yet Weirdly Exciting Sex Scenes, From Most Outrageous to Least
- Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
- Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan
- The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
- Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan
- The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A. N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
- The Miller’s Tale by Geoffry Chaucer