Today’s 5 Books interviewee is xfafafabulous, one of the original Persephone interns who has since graduated to a full-fledged member of the editorial team. Read her answers after the cut.
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1. Which book would you give to a potential significant other?
Hm, tough one! Probably The Phantom Tollbooth if they hadn’t read it, because it’s one of my favorites, and if they don’t love it, they suck. It’s an adolescent book, but it’s full of marvelous wordplay and riddles. It’s very clever. If someone thought it was stupid, then I wouldn’t be able to date them. Luckily, my boyfriend of several years already had a well-worn copy of it when I first met him. I should have known we would end up together from that moment!
2. Which book would you give to a high school senior?
Invisible Man. What a fantastic book about race and prejudice. The title has several implied meanings – one being that the main character is a hermit, but the second is that the majority – White people, men, able-bodied folks, financially stable people – can make those who don’t fit into those categories feel invisible; and not only that, minorities tend to be erased from society by these people. It’s something we still see today. It’s a really great social commentary that is still, sadly, relevant.
3. Which book would you give to your political representatives?
What’s the heaviest book in the world? I want to give it to them by dropping it on their collective heads.
In seriousness? Tough to say. I honestly think most of them are too thick to understand anything that would have a good message for them.
4. Which book would you give to a former teacher?
Hm. Most of my favorite teachers were those who gave my favorite books to me! I think a book a lot of teachers should read is The Giver, though. If you’ve ever read it, you’ll understand where I’m going with this. In my opinion, teachers are the Givers in our society – at least, they should be. They should be the ones giving children the knowledge and tools to think and question and wonder why all the things are the way they are, why things were the way they were, and how things could be in the future. There are too many teachers who are not Givers anymore but mindless drones, telling their students not how things are and were and how things could be, but telling them the world is however our society wants them to believe it is. And any teachers who ARE Givers, who give their students real history and real perspectives”¦ well, often they’re kicked out of the classroom for various reasons made up by school administrators. Which is really sad.
5. Which book would you give to your best friend?
I’ve been trying to get my best friend to read the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray for years, but she’s not into supernatural stuff. But y’all, it’s awesome! It’s a young adult trilogy set in the Victorian ages about a group of girls at a boarding school, and they discover they have powers to go into an alternate world. It’s really a great story. The main character is fantastic and refreshingly feminist for a young girl in the Victorian ages. Best of all, it’s hardly about “getting the guy” like many YA historical novels.