Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to Branwell author Douglas A. Martin.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Douglas A. Martin: I hadn’t remembered its title, but after some keyword and image searches: Terry and the Caterpillars. I was given my own copy to have after a library field trip and kept trying to get that feeling back from there.
BM: Favorite re-read?
DM: Anything by Anne Carson usually does something anew to me each time. Short Kafka pieces. Many Lydia Davis stories.
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
BM: A book that blew your mind?
DM: Ntozake Shange’s nappy edges. This was poetry to me.
BM: Last book you read?
DM: Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women.
BM: A book that made you cry?
DM: The last one to do so was Mr. Potter by Jamaica Kincaid.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
DM: Reverse Cowgirl by McKenzie Wark.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
DM: Letters from A Seducers by Hilda Hilst. John Keene’s translation lights it up!
BM: What’s one book you wish you had read during your teenage years?
DM: Shame by Annie Ernaux.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
DM: Usually anything by a friend to another who might never otherwise meet that first. Most recently, Masha Tupitsyn’s Picture Cycle to a young musician who studied film.
BM: Classic book you hate?
DM: There’s always a sentence or two to appreciate, sometimes an actual moment. I will let you guess which one got my chapter after chapter refrain of: Still not married yet.
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
DM: The Art of War.
BM: What’s a book with a really great sex scene?
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
DM: On the Mountain: Rescue attempt, nonsense by Thomas Bernhard? The Taxi by Violette Leduc?
BM: Favorite book of the 21st century?
DM: So far, Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, even through teaching it.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
DM: The Scarlet Letter. It made my experience of my mother, and myself in light of her, much clearer to me.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
DM: Before sleep each night it has been Dub by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. It’s part of a trilogy I’m reading out of order.
BM: Favorite children’s book?
DM: Always close to me is a copy of Alice in Wonderland.
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
DM: I would like to see some directors of wildly different backgrounds and means take up the remaining volumes of Proust with Chantal Ackerman’s The Captive as an inspiration and guide.
Douglas A. Martin’s first novel, Outline of My Lover, was an International Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and adapted for the multimedia ballet/live film Kammer/Kammer. He is co-author of The Haiku Year and co-editor of Kathy Acker: The Last Interview and Other Conversations. His books of poetry and prose include In the Time of Assignments, Your Body Figured, Acker, and most recently an anti true crime novel, Wolf.
Douglas A. Martin’s Branwell: A Novel of the Brontë Brother is out now from Soft Skull