Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #6

In round 6 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Hilary Leichter. Hilary earned a BA in English at Haverford College. She is currently an MFA candidate in the writing program at Columbia University, and this is her first published story. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What are you reading right now?

I am going back and forth between two books: THE PORTABLE DOROTHY PARKER, and BEST-LOVED FOLKTALES OF THE WORLD. Both books are like having a date with a group of friends who happen to know the greatest stories of all time, and then sitting and listening to them talk until dawn.

What else have you been reading this summer?

I just reread Shirley Jackson's WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, which is dark and gorgeous and haunting and thrilling. Besides, there is a new edition with beautiful cover art by Thomas Ott, and I am a sucker for beautiful cover art. Who isn't? I was reading about the Blackwood sisters and their "castle" while simultaneously heading out on a crazy, madcap apartment hunt. It turns out that Brooklyn doesn't have many affordable castles for rent on craigslist - go figure!

Also, Neil Gaiman's SMOKE AND MIRRORS, which I borrowed from a friend and has been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long. I will give it back to you soon, friend! This book is diabolical. The stories are satisfying in an unhealthy way.

Also, also: the short story collection BOYS AND GIRLS LIKE YOU AND ME, by Aryn Kyle. If you like things that knock you out of your chair, you should probably go buy a copy, immediately. I loved this nuanced and elegant book, especially the first story, "Brides."

Which upcoming book releases are you most looking forward to?

Steven Millhauser's WE OTHERS: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES. Marisha Pessl's NIGHT FILM. I am waiting with bated breath for my copy of Alan Hollinghurst's THE STRANGER'S CHILD. I loved his most recent book, THE LINE OF BEAUTY, which is another great summer read. I can't wait to find the new one in my mailbox. And I won't come up for air until the binding is broken, the pages are smudged and I hit the back cover.

I can't stand the suspense, so I am pre-ordering THE FLAME ALPHABET, by Ben Marcus. And you can't stop me. In fact, you should probably pre-order it too.

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