TV writer and Instagram sensation Gary Janetti is now a published author. Do You Mind If I Cancel?, the debut book from the Emmy nominee (Will and Grace), hit shelves this week, boasting an appeal similar to beloved essayists like David Sedaris. The book covers Janetti’s coming of age as a young gay man in New York, from his dreams of starring in a soap opera to his struggles in landing a job pre-internet. Advance praise has come from the likes of Crazy Rich Asians mastermind Kevin Kwan and No. 1 best-selling Daisy Jones and the Six author Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Ahead of the book’s publication, EW quizzed Janetti on his literary obsessions. Read on for his literary crush, his favorite childhood read, and much more.
My favorite books as a child: Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King and Mommy Dearest, by Christina Crawford. I loved to be frightened and I loved fabulous women screaming at children. I still do.
The book that cemented me as a writer: The World According to Garp, by John Irving. I read it when I was 13. I knew I wanted to do that, whatever that was.
The last book that made me laugh: Normal People, by Sally Rooney. I love her.
The last book that made me cry: Same book.
The book I’ve read over and over: David Copperfield, by [Charles] Dickens. It’s perfect. (I read it twice, I don’t know if that counts as over and over but it’s really f—ing long.)
Movie adaptation of book I’ve loved: Atonement, by Ian McEwan, and the film directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley (gorgeous) and James McAvoy (gorgeous). I love the book and the movie equally. That never happens.
Book people might be surprised to learn I love: Watership Down, by Richard Adams. I don’t know if they’d be surprised, but I still think about Hazel and Fiver 40 years after I’ve read it.
A book I pretended to have read but I haven’t: Remembrance of Things Past, by Proust. I’ve read the first part, which is over a thousand pages, so I feel like I can say I’ve read all of it.
My literary crush: Truman Capote, the same person wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood! Runner up: Flannery O’ Connor: Read A Good Man is Hard to Find now.)
My literary hero: David Copperfield and Celie, from The Color Purple. (Runner up: Holden Caulfield.)
What I’m reading right now: Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin. His writing is like a living thing. I love him.
The book that changed my life: All of them.
If I could read one genre, it’d be…: Anything where a young person from a lower-middle-class background (preferably British) befriends a wealthy classmate and ends up spending a lot of time with the wealthy classmate’s family (expensive trips, summers abroad, lawn parties, etc.) getting seduced by this new life and becoming part of their world —- only to find out that they will never, ultimately, be accepted as one of them. See The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst, as a flawless example of this genre that doesn’t technically have a name but I am obsessed with.