1. Which book would you give to a potential significant other?
It gets under my skin when really smart, well-educated, liberal guys never read books by women (the frequent exceptions being Atlas Shrugged and Harry Potter). I have a couple of go-to lady authored books I like to push on guys, but A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan) is a really good bet.
2. Which book would you give to a high school senior?
Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep is an excellent reminder that who you are in high school says very little about who you’ll be the rest of your life. That’s the thing I most want to tell every high school student I know; you don’t have to decide anything right now. The things that consume you at 17 are specks in the rearview that get smaller the older you get.
3. Which book would you give to your political representatives?
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, is about a Syrian-American man caught in the national security clusterfuck that was post-Katrina New Orleans. It is straight-up spectacular storytelling, and a really broad view of what it means to be “American.”
4. Which book would you give to a former teacher?
Hmmmm, this is hard! My teachers were always the ones who gave me good books, not the other way around. In sixth grade, my English teacher scrunched her nose when I told her my favorite book was The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). I think I’d like to send her a copy and ask her to reconsider her reaction; no need to crap on sixth graders’ tasted in literature.
5. Which book would you give to your best friend?
Can’t tell you, it would ruin her birthday! I will say this, she needs to read The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) so she’ll go to a midnight showing with me when the movie hits theaters.