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 Embassy Wife (out this month), Katie Crouch.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Katie Crouch: Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. Oh, Big Anthony!
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
BM: A book that blew your mind?
KC: In fourth grade, while my parents were at a dinner party, I sat upstairs in their friends’ study and read Wifey by Judy Blume, cover to cover. Yowzah.
BM: Last book you read?
BM: A book that made you cry?
KC: I cry all the time, even when reading to my kids, so that’s a hard one to pin down. How about this: During my class this term at Dartmouth, I read a story called The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich out loud, and I really lost it at the end. You know what’s awkward? Twelve Ivy Leaguers watching you weep over Zoom.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
KC: My oldest and dearest friend Grady Hendrix is becoming this big horror book rock star, and he wrote this crazy novel set in our hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. It’s called The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. He doesn’t really need a shout-out, because that book is becoming a streaming show. But I’m super proud to be his friend, so I like to mention his name at every opportunity. Mainly so he doesn’t forget me, as he is my very favorite person to have dinner with in New York, and that would make me sad.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
KC: Katherine Heiny’s book Single, Carefree, Mellow is a riot.
BM: What’s one book you wish you had read during your teenage years?
KC: I wish Curtis Sittenfeld had written Prep when I was in high school, because maybe then I wouldn’t have felt so much like an aardvark.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
KC: The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook, which is purely selfish, as I am from Charleston and like to be fed properly prepared fried chicken.
BM: Classic book you hate?
KC: As I Lay Dying. Does. Not. Compute.
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
KC: My Antonia by Willa Cather.
BM: What’s a book with a really great sex scene?
KC: I kind of think the best sex scene is comprised of white space, so I can use my very colorful imagination. But if it must be spelled out for me, James Salter is pretty damned hot.
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
KC: Namgu’s Escape Theory by Beauty Boois. It’s about a struggling college kid in Windhoek, Namibia, and it’s stunning. It might be hard to get because it’s published by the University of Namibia Press, but try! It’s great.
BM: Favorite book of the 21st century?
KC: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Hard to beat.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
KC: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In Charleston we did a lot of waterskiing, and that book has the most awkward water-skiing scene that has or will ever be written.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
KC: I’m reading my friend Michelle Richmond’s book The Wonder Test and it is just terrific.
BM: Favorite children’s book?
KC: I think I already talked about my obsession with Big Anthony in Strega Nona, no?
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
KC: Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Oh. Okay. Embassy Wife! Then we could all go to Namibia and see giraffes. Let’s do it. I’ll drive.
Katie Crouch is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, and Abroad. She has also written essays for The New York Times, Glamour, The Guardian, Slate, Salon, and Tin House. Her newest novel is Embassy Wife. A former resident of Namibia and San Francisco, Crouch now lives in Vermont with her family and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.
Katie Crouch’s Embassy Wife is out this month from Farrar, Sraus and Giroux