Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Carol Weston

Carol Weston has been the "Dear Carol" advice columnist at Girls' Life since 1994. Her many books include Ava and Pip, Ava and Taco Cat, Ava XOX, The Diary of Melanie Martin, and Girltalk, which came out in a dozen languages.

Weston's new novel is Speed of Life.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m lucky. I’ve been in the same book club for two dozen years, and together we have read classics like War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as newer novels like The Nix and Commonwealth.

One book I recently picked up on my own was Lonesome Dove. I knew that Larry McMurtry’s tome was a favorite to many, but I’d always been daunted by the length. It makes 100 Years of Solitude look short! When I finally jumped aboard, however, it was fun to gallop through the Wild West with Gus, Call, Pea Eye, Newt, Lorena, and the gang. I also read My Ántonia, another novel set in the West that I’d somehow missed in high school. Again I underlined so many sentences. And oh those wolves!

I’m now working on a book set in Spain in the 1600s, so I’ve been reading coffee table books about Spanish art and Velazquez. I’ve been obsessed with Las Meninas since graduate school in Madrid and I’m glad to be able to dig in.

As for newer books, I admired the prizewinning Underground Railroad, but also recommend Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, a debut novel that grapples with the horror of slavery by unspooling the destinies of two sisters in Ghana, one who becomes a slave and one who becomes a slave trader’s wife. Early on, you realize that whenever there’s a space break, decades may pass, and that chapters can take you across the ocean and back.

Best nonfiction I’ve read in a while: When Breath Becomes Air and On Being Mortal. I can’t help but think about life and death — and what is in between?

It's now cliché to rave about All the Light We Cannot See, but I was raving about it before the first reviews. I read All the Light We Cannot See as an ARC because Anthony Doerr and I were signing books side by side at Winter Institute in Seattle back in 2014. We traded pleasantries and galleys, and then once I started reading, holy moly, I couldn’t stop. I remember curling up on my sofa thinking: Oh, wow, this is why I was a literature major! I had lived in France in twelfth grade with a program called School Year Abroad, and I could feel myself revisiting all those nooks and crevices in St Malo, a walled port city in Brittany.

One more thing. When you are a writer, you reread your own works-in-progress countless times. I worked on Speed of Life for nearly a decade always making little changes. Now I’m eager to read the many young adult and middle grade novels that have been stacking up in my bedroom. Reason enough to look forward to hammock weather!
Visit Carol Weston's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ava and Pip.

The Page 69 Test: Speed of Life.

--Marshal Zeringue