Saturday, January 6, 2024

Welcome to Desert Island Books, a weekly series where I talk to authors, writers and journalists about the eight books they would take to a deserted island and why.

This week my guest is Emma Forrest. London-born Emma Forrest began her writing career as a teenage columnist at the Sunday Times and later published columns in the Guardian, the Independent and Elle. By the age of thirty, she had published three novels and left journalism to work as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Her memoir Your Voice In My Head is loved by Nick Hornby, Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon, Emma Gannon, Florence Welch and Elizbeth Gilbert. Emma wrote and directed her first feature film Untogether, which premiered at the Tribeca film festival. His most recent novel was The Choice of the Radio 2 book club Royals, which was praised by Marian Keyes, David Nicholls and Emma Jane Unsworth.

If you want to buy Emma’s latest memoir, Busy Being Free, you should consider this – an online book sales platform designed specifically for independent bookstores.

Chandeliers by Raven Leilani

I just think it’s an awesome beginning, well beyond his years. It’s funny,shameful, revealing, generous. She has such a strong voice that it’s almost like listening to a play on the radio.

A concise Chinese English Dictionary for lovers of Xiaolu Guo
I will read everything from Guo-his work is so tender and graceful and ribbed with sadness and longing. But it was my first and my favorite.

Is that a Gun in Your Pocket by Rachel Abramowitz
It’s such a brilliant story of women in Hollywood-the triumphs and difficulties of pioneering female directors, studio heads and a particularly great chapter about Polly Platt, production designer and secret main force behind my favorite movie Paper Moon.

The trilogy by Deborah Levy

I know I’m cheating by including his three memoirs, but I think they come together very intentionally like the entire B-side of Abbey Road, and it doesn’t feel right to pull them apart. Levy’s success in quarantine fills my heart. She is absolutely unique and deserves every praise.

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
These memoirs made me laugh so much alone in my apartment that I had to call my mother again and again to read excerpts, because I was so sure that it was a sign of insanity to laugh so loudly alone.

The Pillow Man by Martin McDonagh

I don’t particularly like reading plays, but this one I read every two years and it’s always a pleasure. I think it’s one of the great works of art in my life, and I’m honored that my copy was signed by McDonagh: “If you don’t think it’s brilliant, you have to be mental.” I think it’s brilliant.

Far From Kensington by Muriel Spark
Oh, like many of my favorite pieces of pop culture, my mother made me this novel as a teenager. Spark is by far one of the greatest writers of all time. Sp spare and elegant and funny. Magical of the literary world in a way, Spark’s main concern – the Transfiguration – is applied here by the heroine’s weight loss plan, which makes me laugh, but which I also successfully reproduced in real life.

A Capote reader
I mean, it is considered the best for a reason. The language is so elegant and musical. I especially like this collection because it contains his celebrity profiles, which are probably my favorite things he has written, especially his heartbreaking essay about his girlfriend Marilyn Monroe.

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