Monday, April 11, 2011

Elizabeth Berg answers our Top Five

Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY award in 1996. The winner of the 1997 New England Booksellers Award for her body of work, Berg is also the author of a nonfiction work, Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True. She lives in Chicago and her latest book is Once Upon a Time, There Was You. She'll be reading at the bookstore Tuesday, April 19th at 7pm.

1. What's on your nightstand right now? On my nightstand? Get ready! Tea Obrecht's The Tiger's Wife, Maeve Binchy's Minding Frankie, Alice Hoffman's The Red Garden, Cynthia Ozick's Foreign Bodies, Eula's Bliss's Notes from No Man's Land (essays), Karen Russell's Swamplandia!, David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, Alex Munthe's The Story of San Michele. Needless to say, I like to read a lot of books at once. And I have a huge tower of books waiting to replace these. I'm a book pig; I just can't get enough.

2. How do you write? I've been writing full time since 1985. I like to write in silence, in my office. I jump up every now and then for this and that, but mostly it's pretty intensely focused. I usually write for about 4 hours straight.

3. Name the first time or moment you realized you were a writer. I wrote truly awful poetry as a kid. At nine, I submitted a poem to American Girl magazine, which promptly rejected it. And should have. But oh, the tears. I guess I've always understood that writing is my vehicle for expressing things, and for coming to understand things.

4. What are you working on now? A non-fiction book that's a kind of fractured memoir mixed with my views on various aspects of life. There's a lot in there about dealing with aging parents, there are travel pieces and recipes, there are many confessions.

5. Favorite recent find? Amos Lee, Blood, Bones and Butter, a recipe for macaroni and cheese I found that doesn't have a bazillion calories, and a puppy I found online that I really want to adopt.

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