Friday, February 24, 2012

Julianna Baggott

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode. She has published seventeen books over the last ten years.

After receiving her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Baggott published her first novel, Girl Talk, which was a national bestseller and was quickly followed by Boston Globe bestseller The Miss America Family, and then Boston Herald Book Club selection, The Madam, an historical novel based on the life of her grandmother. She co-wrote Which Brings Me to You with Steve Almond, a Kirkus Best Book of 2006.

Baggott's new novel is Pure.

Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading.  Her reply:
You really want to know what's on my bedside table? Really? Well, I'll tell you. I got burnt out. I've read and read -- for reviews, blurbs, my grad students. The work was good -- sometimes really, really damn good. But everything was assigned. Everything had a due date. And, yes, I'll admit it. There was that keeping up with the Jones reading that I've always balked at. When everyone's reading The Help, I just simply refuse. I want to read what no one else is reading. So, in the past few months, that has included an ancient medical journal, an Old English Dictionary. I just rebel and then you can't make me read what everyone else is reading. Is this hard for me sometimes socially in literary circles (I still haven't gotten to Freedom.)? Well, yes, yes it is. But I'm already weird socially around other writers so forget it. And, I'll admit it, at this moment, a lot of people are reading The Orphan Master's Son -- it's on my bedside table and I'm loving it. And I haven't yet gotten my hands on Stewart O'Nan's latest and I feel a little ached about it. So I do read what others are reading, of course sometimes ... And I lose books. Did I mention this? For example, I just got my second copy of The Snow Child. I carry books around. I let them loose. I hope they find good homes. So, you asked me an honest question and I'm going to give an honest answer. I was burnt out. And I said to myself, Baggott, what did you first love to read? Seriously, way back. Before One Hundred Years of Solitude blew up your brain. What was there for the sheer pleasure of flipping pages? I'll tell you. Agatha Christie. And right now, amid a lot of up and coming novels and weird books, are two Agatha Christie paperbacks. One came apart in my hands while reading it last week. The other is just starting to bend in two. But yeah. I needed to go back to something elemental. And I found her in the dusty back room of a second hand bookstore and I felt like some part of me was starting over.
Visit Julianna Baggott's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Pure.

--Marshal Zeringue