I can’t tell you how beyond thrilled I was to receive word that Celeste Ng would be curating our September box. Her debut work, Everything I Never Told You is a favorite not only on my personal shelf but among readers everywhere, and Little Fires Everywhere is bound to be no different. Already it has captured the attention of the literary community, and is poised to be one of the best book releases of this year. Not only is Celeste an incredible author, but also a kind and generous person. I was so excited that she agreed to answer a few questions for us, and so without further ado, I present our first 54321 Interview!
5 Books You’d Recommend to Everyone
· The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison: a masterpiece of American fiction and one everyone needs to read.
· Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynn Jones: a children’s book that more than holds up for adults, with a strong heroine and a John Donne poem to boot.
· Euphoria, by Lily King: One of the best novels I’ve read in years.
· We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Do I really need to explain why?
· The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood: Ever more relevant as the days pass.
4 Favorite Contemporary Female Writers
· Mira Jacob: A fantastic fiction writer with a forthcoming graphic memoir on parenting and race–can’t wait to read it.
· Nicole Chung: The former managing editor of The Toast somehow manages to be eloquent AND insightful AND witty about culture, adoption, and race in America.
· Rebecca Solnit: Start with her essay “Men Explain Things to Me” and proceed in any direction from there.
· Roxane Gay: If you don’t know her work, it’s time.
3 Things That Make You Happy
· Puns (especially bad ones)
· The questions my six-year-old asks
2 Things to Let Go Of
· Guilt, if you can (if so, please tell me how).
· That book you’re not going to read. Nothing’s for everyone. Pass it along–someone else will love it–and go read something else.
1 Quote to Live By
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Thanks to Celeste and the Penguin Press team for making this happen, and I hope all of you enjoy Little Fires Everywhere!