Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
We’re so very pleased to announce the three new additions to the Nouvella team! Below, Jeva, Rose and Lauren tell us about some of their favorite written things.
Last thing I read that was so good, not only did it knock my socks off, it stole them forever: I just read Huckleberry Finn for the first time since I was too young to get it, and it blew me away.
Currently reading: Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Karolina Waclawiak’s How to Get Into the Twin Palms.
Favorite novella: Heart of Darkness is a clear winner for me but I have a soft spot for Breakfast at Tiffany’s too.
Favorite food in the entire world: Diet Peach Snapple is kind of my addiction (I realize I’ve cheated and this is not technically a food).
If someone absolutely forced me to recite some poetry, I would recite: I read “Where They Lived” by Marjorie Saiser in a newspaper when I was a teenager and loved it so much I committed it to memory. I’d recite that.
Last thing I read that was so good, not only did it knock my socks off, it stole them forever: The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson. I read it not long after reading the first volume of Knausgaard’s book, and after reading Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante—both sock-stealers as well. In contrast to Knausgaard’s fast maximalism, and Ferrante’s volcanic rage, Jansson’s prose is careful, reticent, and spare, yet the emotion that courses through her story is just as strong. It was instructive to see that something so quiet could be so affecting. A young girl spends a summer mostly in her declining grandmother’s company, after her mother has died; the father, in his grief, throws himself into work, and is largely absent. Like the Knausgaard and the Ferrante—like all good family stories—The Summer Book asks how one can be one’s whole self in a family while supporting and submitting to the needs and desires of the other members, themselves whole persons, connected, but always separate.
Currently reading: Currently, I am reading Irretrievable, by Theodore Fontane. Like The Summer Book, it is a NYRB reissue. I will almost always buy a NYRB book; that press has led me to books I love, strange and unusual books that surprise me, and books I wouldn’t otherwise have known about, that interest me. Irretrievable falls in the last category: I don’t love it, but I’m interested. Nineteenth century German novel about a marriage falling apart.
Favorite novella: So many excellent works fall into that long story/short novel zone; for today, I will choose as a favorite novella Miss Lonelyhearts, by Nathanael West.
Favorite food in the entire world: My favorite food is a taco I ate in the Safeway parking lot in Guerneville, next to the taco truck; is a cheesy potato pancake I ate in a market in Paris; a blackberry I picked in West Marin in the late eighties; that peach ice cream we used to make; the beef stew with polenta my husband made when I was pregnant with our son; the lentil and bulgar salad with walnuts and tarragon I make every summer that no one likes as much as I do.
If someone absolutely forced me to recite some poetry, I would recite: If I had to recite a poem, I hope I would be allowed to use a book, since I don’t have any poems committed to memory; then I would recite Hopkins’ “The Windhover,” because it is so ecstatic and strange, and sounds good out loud.
Last thing I read that was so good, not only did it knock my socks off, it stole them forever: Karen Davis’s Duplex. Her prose is like unexpected fireworks–sudden, magical, and a little frightening in its beauty.
Currently reading: Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End. Just started a new job, so it seemed appropriate.
Favorite novella: If I’m being honest, it’s The Crying of Lot 49. Or Bartleby.
Favorite food in the entire world: I have very strong feelings about burritos. And pie. Basically filling wrapped in carb casing=A+++
If someone absolutely forced me to recite some poetry, I would recite: in middle school they made us recite a poem in front of the class–something to do with public speaking. I chose Emily Dickinson for length reasons, and to this day I still have “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” memorized. (not really a feat at 8 lines)