The writer whose latest novel is ''Someone Else's Shoes,'' hasn't read any classic novels, ''but the Russian greats hang over me every year, feeling like a gaping omission in my education.''

.- What books are on your night stand?

''Shrines of Gaiety,'' by Kate Atkinson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's '' We Should All Be Feminists,'' ''The Faber Book of Reportage,'' edited by John Carey, and around 30 copies of The New Yorker.

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

I loved ''Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,'' by Gabrielle Zevin, and I had expected not to love it. I have zero interest in computer games, but it's about so much more - it's about creativity, disability, friendship and power dynamics.

There is an extraordinary chapter near its climax that made me sob. That rarely happens.

.- Describe your ideal reading experience [ when, where, what, how ]. 

Probably on a train or airplane; somewhere where there is nothing I feel obliged to be doing for a few hours, and few interruptions.I'd like an accompanying mug of tea, a warm seat and the latest novel by an author I love.

.- What's your favorite book no one else has heard of?

''On Horsemanship,'' by Xenophon, an Athenian soldier and philosopher around 355 B.C. whose ideas, especially regarding our treatment of and relationship with animals, are pertinent today.

.- Which writers - novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets - working today do you admire most?

I'm a latecomer to poetry, but right now I find it hits the spots fiction doesn't always reach. I love Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver, Jack Gilbert - his ''Failing and Flying'' was my Iodestar when my marriage broke down.

Anthony Lane for movie criticism and any column by Marina Hyde - the most biting of modern satirists. Lisa Taddeo's ''Three Women'' shows her extraordinary ability to extract secrets, combined with a surgeon's precision of mind.

There are too many novelists I admire, but I'd read Ann Patchett's shopping list. Depending on my mood, Lee Child, Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty, George Saunders, David Sedaris.

I'll kick myself later for whomever I've left out.

.- Have you ever written a fan letter to an author?

I'm lucky enough to be friends with many authors - they make especially good pen pals - soI send them unofficial fan mail and all the time if I've loved something they have written.

If I didn't love it, I just pretend I haven't had time to read it.

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

''Standard Deviation,'' by Katherine Heiney. I was on the plane with my family and laughed so much and so loudly my children slid down their seats and pretended I wasn't with them. 

''Lessons in Chemistry,'' by Bonnie Garmus, made me laugh too [ the fungi scene was a joy]. 

.- The last book that made you cry?

Rob Delaney's '' A Heart That Works. '' A raw, unflinchingly honest telling of the life and death of his baby son. I'm not sure that it's possible to get through it without tears.

.- Have you ever changed your opinion of a book based on information about the author or anything else?

Unfortunately, yes. I idolized an author and her work and plucked up the courage to tell her so when I met her at a literary gathering when I was newly published. She could not have been less interested and looked past me over my shoulder as I spoke. It's been really hard to love her work as much since.

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

Some varieties of female duck have internal genitalia shaped into a spiral - making fertilization without ''consent'' much harder, in view of some scientists [from ''Bitch,'' by Lucy Cooke].

.- Do you distinguish between ''commercial'' and ''literary'' fiction? Where's that line for you?

Not in terms of my appetite for reading - I read everything from thrillers to literary fiction to comic books. And I'm enjoying the fact that the line appears to have become increasingly blurred between them. If someone I trust tells me something's good, I''ll give it a go.

.- You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Tennessee Williams, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and David Sedaris. I'd just sit back and listen.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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