Ethel Rohan

I read and write and live. I get better and better at all three, mostly.

what are you reading now

Brian Evenson’s story collection, The Wavering Knife. It’s haunting, and horrific in parts, and I feel in the weathered hands of a master storyteller.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

It’s a long list. Near the top of that long list is definitely Crime and Punishment. It seems the Russian writers are to me what the Irish writers are to Yiyun Li.

last book you finished in a single sitting

I’m not sure I’ve ever done that, but the most recent book I feel I devoured more than read is a tie between Alissa Nutting’s Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls and Lindsay Hunter’s Daddy’s.

book you borrowed and never returned

Do not lend books to me. Do not lend anything to me. I am terrible at returning things. It’s not intentional, it’s just not a priority and I’m forgetful. Let’s see, I think the last book I borrowed and never returned would be Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent.

most treasured book in your collection

That’s like asking me which of my two daughters I favor. For the record, the answer to the latter is neither. They’re both fabulous. Back to books. Jesus what a question. Okay, if forced to answer on the threat of death, it’s a tie (don’t laugh) between John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany and Emily Brönte’s Wuthering Heights. Both books had a profound effect on me as a teenager. The passion, compassion, and imagination in these two books filled, flattened, and filled, and filled, flattened, and filled, my heart again and again.

favorite book from childhood

Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince and Other [Fairy] Tales. If you don’t know these stories, read them. “The Happy Prince” still slices at me. Now you all know way too much about me.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

No book comes to mind. Fadó, fadó, I did plant myself on a coffee table to impress someone.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

Christ, stand me against a tree and throw knives. It’d be easier. I won’t name one. I will say that every writer should subscribe to at least one lit mag every year. They need us. We need them. In 2010, I subscribed to Ploughshares and I loved every issue. This year I hope to enter the Crazyhorse fiction contest and that includes a year’s subscription.

best thing you’ve read online recently

This is starting to feel painful. Roxane Gay’s blog, I Have Become Accustomed to Rejection, is always a fine read, not to mention her fiction. I just read Andy Roe’s “Where Shall We Meet?” over at Used Furniture Review and loved it. There’s a wealth of excellent writing online. I love that abundance and its accessibility. To hell with the naysayers, as writers and readers, we live in a great time.

most anticipated upcoming release

I recently read Bonnie Jo Campbell has another book forthcoming. I don’t have any details, but I look forward to that. I loved American Salvage.

recommended reading list:

From Some of the Most Recent Titles I've Read, My ALL SHOOK UP Recommended Reading List

- How They Were Found by Matt Bell

- Baby and Other Stories by Paula Bomer

- The Wavering Knife by Brian Evenson (currently reading)

- Words for Empty and Words for Full by Bob Hicok

- Daddy's by Lindsay Hunter

- Venus Drive by Sam Lipsyte

- Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting

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