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New York Times Talks to J. K. Rowling About Books

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Mel
October 11, 2012, 07:33 PM

The New York Times has a very interesting interview up with J. K. Rowling where she answers a lot of book related questions. She names her favorite literary heroine (Jo March from Little Women) as well as what literary character she would most like the be (Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice). Rowling also discusses what writers she would like to meet and what books she would take with her to a desert island:

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?

I took this question so seriously I lost hours to it. I went through all of my favorite writers, discarding them for various reasons: P. G. Wodehouse, for instance, was so shy that it might be a very awkward meeting. Judging by his letters, his main interests were Pekingese dogs and writing methodology. As I don’t own a Peke I’ve got a feeling we’d just discuss laptops rather than exploring the secrets of his genius.

I finally narrowed the field to two: Colette and Dickens. If Colette were prepared to talk freely, it would be the meeting of a lifetime because she led such an incredible life (her biography, “Secrets of the Flesh,” by Judith Thurman, is one of my all-time favorites). By the narrowest of margins, though, I think I’d meet Dickens. What would I want to know? Everything.


If you could bring only three books to a desert island, which would you pack?

Collected works of Shakespeare (not cheating — I’ve got a single volume of them); collected works of P. G. Wodehouse (two volumes, but I’m sure I could find one); collected works of Colette.

Rowling also discusses what book she would most compare The Casual Vacancy to:

So many children’s books today try to compare themselves to Harry Potter. If your new book, “The Casual Vacancy,” were to be compared to another book, author or series in your dream book review, what would it be?

“The Casual Vacancy” consciously harked back to the 19th-century traditions of Trollope, Dickens and Gaskell; an analysis of a small, literally parochial society. Any review that made reference to any of those writers would delight me.

Rowling answers quite a few more questions about her reading habits, including the most recent book she's enjoyed reading, so you can read and enjoy the rest of the article here.

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7662 Points

I’ve never read anything by Trollope or Gaskell. I’ll add them to my reading list. I’ve read a couple of Dickens books, and I do think The Casual Vacancy is similar, but it reminded me more of The Great Gatsby even though it takes place in New York….but I just read it again 2 years ago and haven’t read a Dickens novel in about 8 years…

Posted by Lexi*the*Auror on October 12, 2012, 04:54 PM report to moderator
7662 Points

I’m only 23 by the way, the last sentence above makes me sound a lot older. lol. I loved Casual Vacancy by the way. I need to recommend it to my sister because she is planning on becoming a social worker, but she doesn’t read novels, especially ones as long as CV.

Posted by Lexi*the*Auror on October 12, 2012, 04:59 PM report to moderator
80450 Points

Jo always gets me thinking!

Posted by Won_Two on October 13, 2012, 06:44 PM report to moderator
889 Points

I’ve seen elizabeth gaskell’s dvd’s on wives ans daughters, cranford and north ansd south and loved them all. I hope her book is a nice.

Posted by molly43 on October 13, 2012, 11:56 PM report to moderator
4481 Points

Great interview with fun questions! I wonder if this took place before or after the NYT book review for The Casual Vacancy, because that was just nasty! Haha.

Posted by Smitch on October 14, 2012, 04:38 AM report to moderator

I agree with her 100% that Dorris Kearns Goodwin’s majestic " Team of Rivals" is a “..truly great book”

However, when she was asked to name her three favourites out of her own works- I have absolutely no doubt, she had both fingers crossed when she replied-
" My heart is divided three ways: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and “The Casual Vacancy.”

Casual Vacancy !!!!! That is better than Askaban is it !!!!!

Oh yeah !,

Posted by Beazle on October 14, 2012, 04:50 AM report to moderator
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