The only book club I belong to is online, and part of the SlowTrav website. This month our book to discuss was Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. I read this book last year and posted about it here.
As part of our book chat, Brenda, our wonderful leader, contacted the author to ask if she would answer some of our questions. She couldn’t join our chat, but Ms. Fuller did answer questions via email. Here are my questions (thanks to Lisa for the inspiration) and Alexandra Fuller’s answers:
1. What are your favorite books?
They change. I mean a book will grab me and have me by the throat and then in a year I can’t imagine what I saw in it. Or, conversely, I’ll hate a book when I first try to read it & then find it wonderful when I pick it up in a different context.
Standing all-time faves (that inspired DOGS):
THE MEADOW – James Galvin
RUNNING IN THE FAMILY – Michael Ondaatje
THE LIAR’S CLUB – Mary Karr
TO THE WEDDING – John Berger
THE GRASS IS SINGING – Doris Lessing
And then the works of Chenjerai Hove, Marechera (what a wildly complicated, distressing man – read THE HOUSE OF HUNGER and its hard to keep turning the pages)
Alexander Kanengoni’s brave and tiny book ECHOING SILENCES
I quite recently read and loved THE SECOND COMING OF MAVULA SEKONGO – Peter Orner
And very recently, THE HOUSE AT SUGAR BEACH – Helene Cooper (not due out until May)
I subscribe to Kwani and Chimurenga, which are Kenyan and South African publications (respectively), which publish great up and coming African writers
also the Sun, which I think can have some lovely writing
The New Yorker
the New York Review of Books (which I love – I find the New York Times Book Review less educated and much more limiting).
I’m also inspired by films:
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS
2. Who are your favorite authors?
VS Naipual (who is either so on, or so off)
Paul Theroux (ditto)
the Desais (mother and daughter)
Ruth Prawer Jabvala…
Others, I know, but that’s who springs to mind. I often admire one or two books from an author Rumer Godden (for example) but not all their work.
3. Who inspires you?
my mother (she has passion in buckets and sometimes that passion feels misplaced, but at least she has passion!)
my father (all that stoic energy)….those are the biggies.
On a day to day basis, I am inspired by ordinary people.
I volunteer at a local institution for delinquent and disabled children and there are kids there who make my heart break they inspire me so much.
I was inspired to tears when I watched Paul Potts on Britain’s Got Talent on Youtube of all things (I don’t have television, so my eldest daughter had to send me the link). Watch it if you can…Paul Potts singing – I was so undone I bought his cd for everyone for Christmas and he’s really only good if you can see him, but who cares. Talk about finding his voice and singing with all his heart, it makes me cry every time I watch it.
4. And also, I’d be curious to know if you’ve read The Glass Castle and if so, what you thought of that book.
Yes, I read it after my last baby was born and I remember feeling sick with the horror of what I was reading. I thought she did a wonderful job of writing without judgment or bitterness, don’t you?