one grand books

Sara Quin’s (of Tegan and Sara) 10 Favorite Books

Sara Quin. Photo: Vulture and Getty Images

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is Sara Quin’s list.

So fresh and mesmerizing, Kiese Laymon’s writing reminded me of the thrill and speed of listening to a musician that reinvents a genre. Every page winded me.

The story Nick Drnaso tells about the inexplicable violence perpetrated by a young man, filmed, uploaded, and then devoured on social media by the masses, kept me up at night. Even in the wordless frames, I sometimes wanted to cover my eyes or look away. Essential reading for our times.

Scarier than a horror film, I found that I could not read it alone at night. It was the closest I’ve come to giving up the flesh (of animals).

I recently emailed Patricia Lockwood to ask her a favor even though we do not know each other. That’s the kind of intimacy this excellent memoir about Patricia’s life, and family, fosters in its reader. I wouldn’t just bring this book to the desert island, I’d beg Patricia to shipwreck there with me.

“To be melancholy is to be self-haunted, and among the many reasons this is an unsatisfactory explanation for living inside a jam jar inside an aquarium, foremost among them is that there are no good stories to tell of your bleak time in a beautiful place, and no specter to blame for the fact that happiness, though it should have been inescapable, evaded you.” I want that quote chiseled onto my gravestone.

I am not a cool person, and this book — daring and smart, with a protagonist so original and fierce — confirmed the above statement in spades. Please read if interested in any or all: motorcycles, New York City in the 1970s, artists, radicals, revolutionaries.

There are sentences in this book that I’d tattoo on my skin forever.

In my life, there is the time before White Teeth, and the time after White Teeth. Zadie Smith’s writing changed my view of the world, and no offense to Patricia Lockwood, but I would like to ask Zadie to come to the desert island too.

As I’ve struggled to understand the (older) men in my life, I’ve returned to this book often. For anyone with daddy issues.

Brilliant, clever, and heartbreaking essays. Especially marvelous if you know David’s voice from his work on the radio program This American Life.

Sara Quin’s (of Tegan and Sara) 10 Favorite Books