Discover the reading secrets of brilliant young novelist, Alexandra Kleeman – the author of this month’s featured book – You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine.
“An existential thriller written in prose that points the way to the future. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine is as good a debut as I’ve ever read.” As praise for a debut novel goes, that’s none too shabby. When it’s a living literary legend like Zadie Smith that opines thus, you’d have to be somewhere on the spectrum if this didn’t have you jumping up and down/dancing for joy. And we’d be inclined to agree with Smith’s praise for Alexandra Kleeman’s first ever novel – You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine. It’s the book we chose to include in our September box, after all!
We’re not the only ones to be impressed either – ELLE called her the “next voice of a generation”, while heavyweights like the Telegraph and Times describe her writing as sharp/original/absurd/brilliant. Her writing – both fiction and essays – has appeared in The Guardian, The Paris Review and The New Yorker. And she’s just 31. A name to watch for sure, here’s how Alexandra Kleeman reads…
Why and when do you read?
I read all day, especially during in-between periods of time on the subway or between teaching classes. I have a superstitious, mercurial way of reading – I only want to read the exact thing I’m in the mood for at that exact moment, which means that on any given day I travel with a novel, a magazine, a novel in a contrasting style, and a book of nonfiction or science. As you can imagine, this rules out most attractive handbags and snappy clutches for my everyday use. I carry a lot of tote bags.
What about reading at home?
At home during the day I’m often reading news or articles on my laptop and pacing around, I look like a nut, I’m sure, to anyone watching me. The most peaceful part of my day is when I get into bed at the end of the night and read a stretch of novel, hopefully something absorbing, with my dog snoring at my feet.
Leggings and a sweater. When the body is cosy, the mind can wander!
I like something moody and wordless, like Nicolas Jaar, Erik Satie, or the Neil Young soundtrack to Dead Man: the Jim Jarmusch film.
Reading drinks and snacks?
Always. I love dried cherries and buttered toast, and an endless parade of coffee and green tea. When I work I always work by the kitchen, so as to be closer to the drinks and the snacks.