Welcome back to “5 Books with ____,” our ongoing and occasional series looking at what our bookish and clever writers, editors, and readers read and recommend. This week we’re visiting with Stephens, one of our long-time contributors. You may have seen her around in her fabulous and weekly News in Asia recaps, or maybe you’ve caught her recent recap of Elementary, or you were a fan of her look back at Torchwood.
1. Which book would you give to a potential significant other?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, not because I love it (I actually loathe it) but if my potential partner has either read it and loved it or reads it and loves it, that person is no longer in the running to be a partner. The probability of friend status is also slim to none. That book is my litmus test for any and all relationships.
2. Which book would you give to a high school senior?
Best Sex Writing anthologies from 2010 to 2013. I feel like these anthologies give voice to those who get little to no representation in mainstream media. There are a variety of perspectives all along the continuum of sexuality in these anthologies and it’s all wonderfully sex positive. I wish someone would have handed it to me in my early college days as I struggled between wanting to explore my sexuality and following the tenets of my religious faith.
3. Which book would you give to your political representatives?
I had a hard time thinking of a book so I’m going to cheat a bit on this one and give a link to the blog, http://thelastabortionclinic.wordpress.com/. It’s the official blog of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi and features posts by the clinic escorts and patients. It’s inspiring and makes you want to tear your hair out at how cruel the pro-life movement can be towards these women.
4. Which book would you give to a former teacher?
If not my first published book, then my copy of 1984 from high school with all my notes in it. That book was a pivotal novel for me and the way my AP English teacher taught it was just so inspiring. Half the notes were direct quotes from her observations of the novel. She’s also the one who introduced me to critical thinking.
5. Which book would you give to your best friend?
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin. Her writing is stunning and flawless, the book explores gender and sexuality and has political intrigue to boot. The world building she did for this novel blows my mind. There are passages in the book that just make me want to weep because they’re so beautifully crafted. She’s the writer I aspire to be one day.