By David Canfield
April 25, 2019 at 04:07 PM EDT
Diana Ragland

From teen idol to literary force, Molly Ringwald has now published three books as well as buzzy essays in The New Yorker. Coming off her latest, greatest writerly challenge — translating Philippe Besson’s sexy French queer romance Lie With Me (often called the French Brokeback Mountain) — she spoke with EW about the books that have influenced her.

MY FAVORITE BOOK AS A KID

My mother read books to me and my siblings and would hide the book at a crucial moment so we couldn’t read ahead. The first time I remember being entirely engrossed in a book was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. When I was able to read on my own, I was obsessed with the books of poetry by Shel Silverstein.

A MOVIE ADAPTATION OF A BOOK I LOVED

Don’t Look Now [1973, starring Julie Christie].

THE GENRE I’D READ IF I WERE LIMITED TO ONE

Literary fiction, I suppose: books about people that attempt to unravel the complexity of the human psyche in a profound and original way.

A BOOK I’VE PRETENDED TO READ, BUT HAVEN’T

None. Although there are many books that I feel I should have read but haven’t managed to yet. Moby-Dick, Don Quixote

THE LAST BOOK TO MAKE ME LAUGH, AND THE LAST BOOK TO MAKE ME CRY

The writing of Etgar Keret: Suddenly, a Knock on the Door always makes me laugh. [His books are] not written for kids, but I find that they are enjoyable for both. I recently read the story “Lieland” to my 9-year-old son in an attempt to keep him off of the computer for a while, and he loved it.

The book I just translated, Lie With Me, made me cry every single time I worked on it.

Scribner

A BOOK I’VE READ OVER AND OVER

Bluets, by Maggie Nelson.

A BOOK PEOPLE MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN I LOVE

Michel Houellebecq’s [The] Elementary Particles. I’m a little surprised and disappointed that I like his writing myself.

MY LITERARY HEROES

Mary Oliver, Grace Paley, and Walt Whitman come to mind.

MY BOOK THAT CEMENTED ME AS A WRITER

My second book — a novel called When It Happens to You [2012].

THE AUTHOR WHO CHANGED MY LIFE

I think probably Raymond Carver (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love), because reading his writing at a relatively young age — 17, 18? — inspired me the most to write myself.

WHAT I’M READING RIGHT NOW

Proust’s Duchess, by Caroline Weber.

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