Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Donna Jo Napoli

Donna Jo Napoli is an author of children's and young adult books, and a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Her recent and soon forthcoming books include Alligator Bayou and The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale.

Recently, I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished reading Maximum City. It's about life in Mumbai, with a main character who's interviewing drug lords and prostitutes. What I love about it is that so much of the history of the place and of the many religions of the place is integrated into the descriptions and even into the conversations, so that I felt I was getting a view not just of the seedy side, but of a tradition that is new to me in ways I couldn't have expected. I'm writing a book set in India in the 1500s -- and modern books, you might think, would not help me in the least. But I think this book does help because of exactly that -- the steeping in a culture that holds onto ancient ways beside the modern. Also, quite incidentally, the book is riddled with misery -- and I love misery.
Visit Donna Jo Napoli's website.

--Marshal Zeringue