Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More of Curtis Sittenfeld's favorite books

A couple of months ago I posted an item about a few of Curtis Sittenfeld's favorite books; click here to read it.

In 2005 she shared with Barnes & Noble a list of her ten favorite books. Here's a sample:

Old School by Tobias Wolff -- This is another boarding school novel, and it is (for me) humbling and brilliant. It came out about a year before mine did and is set at an all-boys school in the early '60s. The boys are obsessed with famous writers, several of whom visit the campus. Wolff is just dazzlingly smart and such a beautiful writer.

Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott -- I actually reviewed this book for The New York Times Book Review, and before I started reading, I didn't think I'd be crazy about it--it's about a boy who becomes a ward of the state of Illinois, and it has some dark drug and sex stuff. But I absolutely loved it. It's told very matter-of-factly and is really poignant.

Sarah Phillips by Andrea Lee -- This novel in stories, which was published in 1984, follows a black girl from an upper-middle-class background through private high school and onto Harvard. It's fantastic -- it's so intelligently written, the details are perfect, and I really like the fact that Sarah is a nuanced character who sometimes acts out of self-interest and isn't always endearing but always seems real. Andrea Lee is also the author of the collection Interesting Women, and the characters in that (adult women) have a similar edge or a complexity that to me makes them so much more interesting than cutesy chick-lit types.

Click here to read the rest of Sittenfeld's list.

Click here to read a 2005 profile of Sittenfeld in the Washington Post.

Click here to read a 2005 interview with her on Earthgoat, a blog by graduates of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and here for their 2006 interview with her.

For a 2006 profile of Sittenfeld in TIME magazine, click here.

--Marshal Zeringue