At a small press that’s constantly striving to expand its horizons, there’s always more than enough work to go around. And what better way to freshen our perspective this summer than welcoming not one, not two, not three, but four summer interns into our midst? We had a feeling these folks were on our same page when it comes to finding fantastic literature and having fun while doing it, and it’s beginning to look like those feelings were spot-on. Without further ado, meet Bryan, a Master’s candidate at Tulane University from Cresco, Iowa.
If there’s one novel currently in print that you wish had your name on the cover as the author, what book do you wish it was and why?
Besides the novelty of having a Time magazine cover, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom would bring me glory. Many of my close friends lament Franzen’s style but that’s exactly what makes it a novel portrait of American life, particularly the Midwest where I grew up. I admit, my recent obsession over Franzen’s work stems from his criticism and personality. I admire and respect Franzen’s imagination and defense for the novel.
What fictional character do you think best represents you?
I haven’t read a perfect match yet but I admire Hemingway’s semi-fictional character, Gertrude Stein. What a fabulous lady. Perhaps this is just a cop-out, I know full well that I’m mixing what I know about Gertrude Stein with Hemingway’s portrait. Who can forget Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris? Gertrude’s apartment, packed with Parisian avant-garde masterpieces, is my kind of place. Put another way, if only I could be like Gertrude Stein in A Moveable Feast and Midnight in Paris (minus some of her biting remarks). I wish I better understood Gertrude. Okay, perhaps I’m envious of her paintings and the people she entertained.
What is one book that you’ve read that you can’t live without?
What is one book (contemporary or classic) that you think is highly overrated?
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I don’t approve of the effect of the novel or any novel that solidifies ideology and narrows one’s vision. I recently read a piece on Paul Ryan and apparently this book is “required reading” in his office. If only everyone thought the same way.
If you could make any book (fiction or non-fiction) into a movie, which book would you choose and who would you cast in the leading roles?
Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces would be a great movie.
Myrna Minkoff: Kristen Schaal
Irene Reilly: Frances Conroy or Kathy Bates
Ignatius: I’m open to suggestions. [Our publisher suggests Zach Galifianakis and apparently at least one Hollywood producer concurs.]
What did you long to be when you were growing up?
I’ve always wanted to teach. I will probably teach someday.
Do you write? If so, what type of writing?
Not yet. I imagine my life as a story though.
In haiku form, please share your thoughts on contemporary publishing/writing.
I only partly mean this from the fiery Fifty Shades of Grey series:
Who decides what’s good?
Is it me or is it you?
Neither, the market.
What are you currently reading?
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I picked it up while traveling but am struggling to pick it up again. I guess I’m not in the mood for Thomas Cromwell. I will be reading Ford Madox Ford’s Parades End soon. To all the Downton Abbey fans, the New Yorker claims this is the real deal.
Why did you apply for an internship with Atticus Books?
I agree with Abby [Hess]. Atticus Books had a distinct voice that appealed to me. I consider publishers the caretakers of literary imagination. One must be responsible for discovering talent and providing the means to share it with more people. Isn’t that the beauty of progress and life?