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 Weather, Jenny Offill.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Jenny Offill: Well, after Goodnight, Moon, I’d have to say Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. My mother had the clever idea to read Nancy Drew books out loud to me before I could read. Her idea was that the suspense would make me learn to read earlier and she was right.
BM: Favorite re-read?
JO: Jesus’ Son because how did you do that, sir?
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
JO: Weather is in conversation with White Noise a little. Funny books about apocalyptic things are not so easy to find.
BM: Last book you read?
JO: The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich. I got it for Christmas and I’m only halfway done to be honest. I’ve been on a social sciences kick for a few months.
BM: A book that made you cry?
JO: Patricia Lockwood’s new novel, No One is Talking About This, has a hospital deathbed scene that did me in.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
JO: Honored Guest by Joy Williams. She writes of a baby who puts the wrong end of a spoon in her mouth: “Of course, there is nothing that cannot be done incorrectly.”
BM: Classic book you hate?
JO: I hold the minority opinion that Charles Dickens is very snoozy. But my daughter had to read Jane Eyre over the summer and I stupidly did too and I thought I would die of boredom. All those speeches…
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
JO: In Search of Lost Time, the Proust translation by Lydia Davis. Although I’m starting to think if I didn’t start it during the pandemic I never will.
BM: What’s a book with a really great sex scene?
JO: You tell me!
Jenny Offill is the author of the novels Last Things (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the L.A. Times First Book Award); Dept. of Speculation, which was shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Pen Faulkner Award and the International Dublin Award; and most recently Weather, an instant New York Times Bestseller. She lives in upstate New York and teaches at Syracuse University and in the low residency program at Queens University.
Jenny Offill’s Weather is out now in paperback from Vintage