Thursday, June 2, 2011

Josephine Angelini

Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. A real-live farmer's daughter, Angelini graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband … and she can still drive a tractor.

Starcrossed, her newly released debut novel, is the first installment of a trilogy.

A few weeks ago I asked Angelini what she was reading. Her reply:
Funny thing about doing a ton of interviews all at once. You start to see coincidences popping up all over the place. It’s not that everyone is asking the same questions-- I’ve been interviewed by some very clever and original people—it’s that one interview gets you thinking on a topic that effects another interview in a way that is both unforeseen and fortuitous.

Let me explain. I recently did an interview for a blogger who asked me to take random pictures of my bookcase and describe the books, why I had them arranged the way I did, and my opinion on their contents. That interview opened a Pandora’s box for me. I rediscovered some books that I haven’t read since college, and I had to ask myself questions like, “Why is Doctor Faustus next to The Last Temptation of Christ?”

So, I’ve been doing a lot of rereading. I don’t know if there’s any pattern to this chaos, but I am happy to rediscover some books that I’ve carried around with me from state to state, but haven’t actually read in a long time. And no wonder—some of the stuff I read in college was pretty heavy.

Socialist Christians, nihilists… Kant. I never understood him, though (I kant understand any of this! was a common thought that used to make me giggle in class.) I’ve been skipping around these books, looking at the things I underlined, shaking my head. I don’t remember ever being that smart. I used to write papers on this stuff, and it took me three tries to untangle a passage from “Twilight of the Idols”. Ah well.

I also ran across Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find, which is probably my favorite collection of short stories. Her style is spare, and her endings drop like rocks into your brain, just like a good short story should. Of course, as soon as I read the opening sentence I’m hooked and have to read the whole story. Genius. That led me to Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen, another wonderful short story collection, but with a fantastical twist. I wish I could write sort stories, but I’m too much of a gasbag.

Next I think I’m going to have to really sit down and read a book, instead of just skimming. I’ve been eyeing Catcher in the Rye. Every now and again I like to reread that book just to remind myself not to be a phony. I haven’t committed yet, though. I’m enjoying going through my bookshelf on this little trip down amnesia lane.
Visit Josephine Angelini's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue