The actress, whose new book is ''Mean Baby : A Memoir of Growing Up,'' has a soft spot for Holocaust books : ''I am drawn to the idea of continuing to bear witness to that horrible time.''

.- What books are your night stand?

''Nothing is Lost : Selected Essays,'' by Ingrid Sischy. ''Hello Molly!,'' by Molly Shannon. ''The Invisible Kingdom,'' by Meghan O'Rourke. ''Till We Have Faces,'' by C.S. Lewis, a favorite. ''Sister Stardust,'' by Jane Green. ''The Lincoln Highway,'' by Amer Towles. ''Meant to Be,'' by Emily Giffin.

.- What's the last great book that you read?

Theodore Dreiser's ''Jennie Gerhardt.'' I read it every few years. I first read it in Budapest while shooting ''Hellboy 11,'' after finding it in a small used bookstore containing English books.

The cover is cloth and reminds me of the mornings I came back from a night shoot and put myself into a daytime slumber wishing Jennie to have an easier life, with no need for the weak Lester Kane. ''She wondered curiously where she would be when she died'' is a quote I often repeat.

.- The last book you read that made you cry?

I cried reading Molly Shannon's new book, when she details the last moments of the tragic car accident that took her mother and sister.

Her mother's last words were asking for her girls. It just broke my heart.

.- What's the most interesting thing that you learned from a book recently?

In Esme Weaijun Wang's '' The Collected Schizophrenias '' she writes in one essay from the view within a particularly unmooring delusion called Cotard's syndrome.

Her bravery in writing about one of the most stigmatized mental disorders was a revelation. I felt an instant kinship with the author despite knowing next to nothing about the disease because it felt too scary.

.- You recorded the audiobook version of Anne Frank's diary. Was that book a particular favorite before you did so? And did performing it aloud change your perception of it?

Recording the diary of Anne Frank was a remarkable alignment. To be asked to narrate one of the most enduring books from my childhood was an incredible honor for me.

Sitting in the recording room, saying these famous lines of hers : ''In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.

I see the world being gradually turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will come right, that the cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.''

It was a surreal experience, and I tried my best to do justice to her legacy. Of course, her words are still haunting and urgent. They will always be.

.- What character from literature would you most like to play?

Auntie Mame seems like a nice departure for me.

.- What's the last book you read that made you laugh?

Melissa River's book about her mother, Joan Rivers. It was so very good I gave it to my own mother, a few years before my mother died. I believe it was the last book that made her laugh out loud.

It was excellent, we both wholeheartedly agreed. I must read it again. Oh, drat, my mom still has my copy.

.- Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which of them do you avoid?

For many years I gravitated to memoirs, especially books on solitude, grief, depression or chronic pain. Understanding my own chronic illness and how it shaped me has been a lifelong pursuit of understanding for me.

But I am also good to move on a bit now. I will read any books on the Holocaust. I am drawn to the idea of continuing to bear witness to that horrible time. And yo honoring the stories of the survivors.

On the opposite spectrum, I love books with entirely glamorous stories.

.- What books people might be surprised to find on your shelves?

I can't imagine anything I have would surprise anyone. I am, myself, surprising to people who are easily surprised.

.- What are you planning on reading next?

''Stoner,'' by John Williams. Another recommendation from Jamie Lee Curtis, who says it is a perfect novel. I think I may agree, though I have only just read the prologue. How have I never heard of this book before now?

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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