Sunday, February 19, 2012

Andrea Hiott

Andrea Hiott was born in South Carolina and graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Georgia in Athens. She then went to Berlin to study German and neuroscience, and ended up staying and working as a freelance journalist. In 2005, alongside a group of international artists and writers, she cofounded a cultural journal called Pulse. She now serves as editor-in-chief.

Her new book is Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle.

Late last month I asked Hiott what she was reading.  Her reply:
I’m in New York City at the moment, exploring its crevices and scaling its heights, and my reading list reflects that mood. I’ve recently finished By Nightfall from author Michael Cunningham, for example, which I found on the shelves of my favorite downtown bookshop (St Marks in the East Village). By Nightfall is an uncomfortable narrative of the city and its webs, telling the story of a man who is very “connected”, but whose connections are so practiced that they must be stretched beyond what they can bear if he wants to reawaken to his life.

At St Marks Bookshop (full disclosure: I used to work there) I also discovered Tony Judt’s political and economic treatise Ill Fares the Land (“A deeply learned, deeply humane heart’s cry” was its adept review from the L.A. Times) and though I’ve only just started the book, it already feels like one of those rare pieces with the power to shift and accelerates one’s understanding of the world.

I’ve also been re-reading Walt Whitman, especially Leaves of Grass. He inspires me so deeply that I sometimes want to throw the book across the room (Goethe once had to do that, didn't he -- throw a book across the room because he loved it so?).

A friend recently recommended Pete Hamill’s Forever to me as well, a magical novel about a man who has been granted immortality so long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan. I’m fifty pages in. So far it’s enchanted, pained, and surprised me.

After Forever, I’ll likely be reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.
Learn more about Andrea Hiott's Thinking Small at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle.

--Marshal Zeringue