The Book Savor series grew out of my passion for good friends, great books, and interesting conversations about what we are reading.
This week’s guest, novelist Anne R. Allen, talks about the books she savors.
1. Carmen Amato: What was the first book you read that marked the transition from reading kids’ books to grown-up fare?
Anne R. Allen: I remember when I was in fifth grade I picked up a new book my dad left on the coffee table. (He was a professor of Classics at Yale.)
It was a thin volume and had pictures and lots of white space, so it looked like books I was used to. I sat down and read it cover to cover. One of the most exciting stories I’d ever read. When my dad saw I’d read it, he freaked. “That’s not for children!” he said. “Did it upset you?” I said it didn’t but I thought the hero was pretty much of a creep.
The book was a new translation of Euripides’ Medea. Kids aren’t as shocked by bad behavior in adults as we think they will be.
2. CA: You are shipwrecked with a crate labeled “Books.” What 3 books do you hope are in it?
ARA: That’s hard. All I can say is I hope they’re really fat ones. Maybe some of those long, tough ones I’ve never had time to read, like Spenser’s Faerie Queen, Don DeLillo’s Underworld, and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
ARA: Maybe the New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons. The best kind of book to keep on the coffee table to keep guests occupied while you’re hostessing. And cats are funny. I’m not sure why.
4. CA: You can invite any author, living or dead, to dinner at your home. What are you serving and what will the conversation be about?
ARA: Dorothy Parker, and the conversation could be about anything she wanted: I’d just sit back and take notes. For the best stories, I’d probably better serve martinis.
5. CA: Can you leave us with a quote, a place, or a concept from a book that inspired you?
ARA: Probably one of the most inspiring books, quotes & concepts ever is Pay it Forward. The book is so much more inspiring than the movie and I am blessed to call the author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, a close friend.
Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences or less.
ARA: I’m a novelist, blogger and actress who believes that laughter is the best medicine. The biggest compliment I ever got was from an old Borscht Belt comic who came backstage after seeing me in Auntie Mame and said, “I didn’t see you act funny once in that whole performance” (pause) “you don’t act funny—you THINK funny—the secret to great comedy.” I feel so blessed to be able to write funny books and have people buy them!
More about this week’s guest: Anne is the author of six romantic-comedy/mysteries: THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE and the Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., and NO PLACE LIKE HOME (the latter 3 just came out as a new collection.) She’s poured all her energies from her previous career as artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA, into her books and a blog about the writing life at http://annerallen.blogspot.com/