Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to Chloe Aridjis, whose novel Sea Monsters recently won the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Chloe Aridjis: One was certainly Mouse Tales, by Arnold Lobel.
BM: Favorite re-read?
CA: My father’s poetry; I return to it often to refuel.
BM: A book that blew your mind?
CA: Herzog on Herzog (interviews with Werner Herzog).
BM: Last book you read?
CA: Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead—funny, wise, profound.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
CA: Optic Nerve, by María Gainza, a cerebral intertwining of art and the female psyche.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
CA: Lewis Carroll’s Phantasmagoria.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
CA: Dino Buzzati’s Poem Strip, a graphic novel from the sixties.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
CA: Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
CA: Ernst Bloch’s Traces and a large book on bats, full of splendid photographs, I once found at the Strand.
BM: Favorite children’s book?
CA: Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.
Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican American writer who was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oxford in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows, she lived for nearly six years in Berlin. Her debut novel, Book of Clouds, has been published in eight languages and won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France. Aridjis sometimes writes about art and insomnia and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. In 2014, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in London.
Chloe Aridjis’ Sea Monsters is out now in paperback from Catapult