Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to the author of All Adults Here (out this week in paperback), Emma Straub.
Book Marks: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
Emma Straub: This question just gave me the very surreal vision of the Stricks, the family in All Adults Here, coming into contact with the characters from my other books—all at some horrible outdoor party, a wedding, maybe, of someone that none of them like particularly, and now I’m just thinking about what the characters would think of each other, and who would get along, and who would despise each other. I know that wasn’t your question, but it’s what I’m imagining. Like the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, but for my novels.
BM: Last book you read?
ES: Last night I finished Sarah Moon’s new middle grade novel Middletown, which made me cry and cry, both because it is a wonderful, funny, heartfelt book about two sisters, but also because it reminded me (again, again, again) how AMAZING books for young readers are right now, and how much of a difference it is going to make for millions of kids to have representation on the pages of a book. One of the sisters in Middletown is gay, but it’s just one part of her, a part of her that her family totally accepts, and it’s not at all the story being told. That’s going to mean a lot to a lot of kids. And that makes me cry, too.
BM: A book that made you cry?
ES: Literally every book makes me cry. I am a very, very easy touch.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
ES: Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong, Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews, Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge, Spilt Milk by Courtney Zoffness, and The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken. Those are all 10/10 reads.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
ES: Samantha Irby gets me every single time.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
ES: The Collected George and Martha by James Marshall. I can think of no one whose life would not be improved by those two hippos.
BM: Classic book you hate?
ES: Like, forever? I read Jude the Obscure when I was about 18, which I think was probably too young. There are a lot of classics that I think I’d enjoy more now, as a softened middle-aged person.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
ES: The only book I truly remember reading in high school is Their Eyes Were Watching God. I can see my young teacher sitting perched on her desk, and I can almost see the words in the air.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
ES: Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle. It sings, and jumps. Next up is the first draft of my new novel, which is also a New York City book. I’m sure it’ll sing and jump just as much, as first drafts always do.
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
ES: All the ones written by people who could really use the royalty money.
Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of four novels, All Adults Here, Modern Lovers, The Vacationers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.
Emma Straub’s All Adults Here is out now in paperback from Riverhead