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5 Books with Teri

Today’s special guest is the lovely Teri, who’s written about all sorts of interesting things since she joined our team as one of our first regular writers. 

1. Which book would you give to a poten­tial sig­nif­i­cant other?

I’ve had a significant other for a long time, and I’ve been trying to convince him to read my most favorite book, The Great Gatsby, for years now. People seem to have mixed feelings about The Great Gatsby – some people are completely bored by it, others find it offensive, overtly sappy, or self-congratulatory. When I read it in 11th grade, I immediately proclaimed it my favorite book EVER, and it has remained in the Top 5 ever since. It speaks to me on several levels. I can relate to the feelings of desperation that all of the characters feel. Gatsby’s feelings of inadequacy despite having so much, Daisy’s discontent with the state of her life, Jordan’s competitiveness and desire to be “the best,” and Nick’s quiet dissatisfaction with being poor and lower class. The book is dark, depressing, and yet, there is the light at the end of the tunnel. The language F. Scott Fitzgerald uses also really speaks to my synesthesia. Reading his books is a kind of delight for my senses. I love him unabashedly.

2. Which book would you give to a high school senior?

The French Chef cookbook, by Julia Child. I think it would benefit teenagers to learn the art of cooking at a younger age. It is relaxing, shows you how to achieve better nutrition, gives you a sense of accomplishment, and then when you go off to college next year you can eat something other than microwave macaroni and cheese. Also, Julia Child is a BAMF.

3. Which book would you give to your polit­i­cal representatives?

A couple of books by Margaret Atwood come to mind – most notably Oryx and Crake, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Both deal with different versions of dystopia. Both are incredibly disturbing. When you read her books you can imagine what she writes about actually coming to pass. For instance, in Oryx and Crake, food manufacturers have introduced a system by which they manufacture chicken breasts that can be grown without the rest of the chicken’s body parts. They are technically “alive,” but without all those messy feathers. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are forced to wear heavy dresses and large hats with wings that cover their faces, and are assigned to a “commander” to which they must provide children, or become one of the “unwomen.” They are not allowed to own assets or travel unaccompanied. I love Margaret Atwood’s dry writing style, and her succinctness. She is one of my favorite modern writers, even if her books generally leave me with the heebie jeebies and a vague feeling of discomfort. I’d like for a few politicians to be forced to confront those feelings, and that fear.

4. Which book would you give to a for­mer teacher?

I’d like to give a former English teacher of mine a copy of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. When I decided to do my research paper on that book in 10th grade, she laughed in my face and said, “You can’t do that book. That’s like…a really big, long book. I haven’t even read it myself and I’m an English teacher. I really don’t think you’re able to accomplish that.” Despite me telling her I’d already read it and begun the project, she forced me to pick another book. I’m still holding a grudge.

5. Which book would you give to your best friend?

The Pornography of Meat, by Carol J. Adams. I found it really thought provoking and entertaining. It makes a correlation between the way we treat animals and the way our society treats women. Both are objectified, and both are treated as a mere product for (male) consumption. As a feminist and a vegetarian, I really enjoyed it, and I’d love to discuss the book with my bestie. Knowing my best friend though, she’d prefer something a little lighter of the fiction variety, so I’d pass on my dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice. I think we could all use a bit o’ Mr. Darcy in our lives from time to time.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

5 replies on “5 Books with Teri”

I had a very similar experience with The Great Gatsby in 11th grade. For better or worse, I majored in English because of that book. When I’m having a truly awful day or week or month I’ll reread it and wrap myself in Fitzgerald’s beautiful language. I have such Strong Feelings about the book that when the hipsters in my modern lit classes scoffed at it, it kind of felt like a personal affront (silly, I know).

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