Thursday, June 7, 2012

Elizabeth Percer

Elizabeth Percer is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and has twice been honored by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received a BA in English from Wellesley and a PhD in arts education from Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship for the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley. She lives in California with her husband and three children.

Her new novel is An Uncommon Education.

Last month I asked Percer what she was reading.  Her reply:
I have a great deal of trouble devoting my attention to only one book at a time, so my bedside table is littered with several I am concurrently exploring. I have a pocket-sized volume of Gerard Manley Hopkins' collected poems, which I dip into for a saturated literary experience when I am feeling my tank is a little low; I have Jews, God, and History which both my parents insist I must read, thereby rendering my attitude toward it cautious; and I'm more actively reading Nabokov's Lolita and Lauren Belfer's A Fierce Radiance.

Lolita's on my list for the umpteenth time because it's one of those rare books that gives so much to me as a writer and a reader no matter how often I reread it, thus inspiring me to consider again and again the power of literature as well as drawing me into a great story. And Belfer's A Fierce Radiance is a careful, rewarding portrayal of the journey of penicillin from mold to super-drug. I love to read fiction about medicine or the medical world, and I love intelligent historical fiction, so Belfer's got me under her thumb for the time being.

Finally, I've just begun reading Vegan for Life after learning more about the American dairy and egg industries. I've struggled for a long time about my somewhat two-faced relationship to animals -- deep care and honoring on the one hand, eating on the other -- but I'm not sure I was ready to really iron out the glaring inconsistencies in this relationship before now. It's a confronting, challenging book, and I'm not sure I agree with or trust its authors' viewpoints, but it has that wonderful quality of making me slightly uncomfortable about the unexamined aspects of my life, and for that I am devoted to it.

So that's it, for now! Ask me next week for an entirely different list!
Visit Elizabeth Percer's website.

The Page 69 Test: An Uncommon Education.

--Marshal Zeringue