Emily Giffin: The books of my life
The ''Something Borrowed'' author, 40, has another pastel-hued surefire best-seller, ''Where We Belong,'' coming out July 24. Here she talks about the books that have shaped her as a writer and a person.
What raunchy book did you read in secret when you were a kid?
Forever by Judy Blume, when I was in the fifth grade. I read it at night and hid it under my mattress during the day. I still recall the gleeful shock I felt when Katherine and Michael named his penis ”Ralph.”
Which fictional character did you want to be?
Harriet the Spy. I named my daughter after her — and so far she is living up to the literary reputation. My Harriet has a lot of moxie for a 5-year-old.
What’s your favorite book that you had to read in school?
To Kill a Mockingbird. It is also my favorite book, period. My mother gave me a special 40th-anniversary edition for my 40th birthday that was autographed by Harper Lee. It has become, along with family photographs, the possession I would save first in a house fire.
What’s the last book you bought?
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I was the manager of the men’s basketball team at Wake Forest during the Tim Duncan era and am a sucker for any great sports story.
What’s a recent book you wish you’d written?
Stephen King’s 11/22/63. The idea of time travel has captivated me since I watched Back to the Future as a kid, as has anything related to JFK. So the combination is irresistible. Plus I’d love to have King’s talent. When he’s not writing horror, he is one of my favorite writers. His prose is so clean, vivid, and unpretentious. In fact, my two favorite movies — The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me — are based on his works.
What book do you read all the time?
Alice Munro’s short-story collection Runaway. I marvel at her ability to create the deepest empathy for her characters while depicting betrayal, love, and friendship like no other.
What’s a scene from your own books that makes you cry?
Darcy in Something Blue makes me laugh. She is so ridiculously shallow and full of herself. But when she transforms and Ethan falls in love with her, I tear up a little. It’s the only book of mine I’ve reread post-publication.
Have you ever bought your books in a bookstore?
Yes. On the publication day of my first novel, Something Borrowed, I went to my local Barnes & Noble with my 6-month-old twins and husband, plucked a copy off the shelves, marched over to the cash register, and proudly announced that it was ”my first book.” I still have the receipt — and have become tight with that bookstore clerk. He always gives me five-star reviews on Amazon!