Notes from Crew Quarters: Books We Wish We'd Written
This week, we asked our editors: What is one book you wish you'd written?
Hayli Cox, Associate Nonfiction Editor
Toni Morrison's Jazz, for every reason ever. But mostly because of the way she manipulates the sound of the sentence and negative space.
Patricia Killelea, Poetry Editor
Rainer Maria Rilke's "The Book of Hours" because then I wouldn't need to write anymore poems ever again.
Stephen Wardell, Associate Poetry Editor
Fifty Shades of Grey. I know it's unmentionable or whatever, but kinky sex and money.
Jacque Boucher, Spoken Word Poetry
Either Paolo Giordano's The Solitude of Prime Numbers or Donna Tartt's The Secret History, because then I would have unlocked the secrets of language and sadness and I guess murder? No matter what, I'd want it to be a novel so I could figure out how prose writers write so many words all at once.
Jason Teal, Associate Nonfiction Editor
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, because then I could write whatever I liked and be heralded, time and again. The downside: I am committed to 27 volumes in a series that will change book technology, for better or worse, and then my craft is typecast as a gimmick: "What will they do next to fundamentally alter our grasp on literature?"
John LaPine, Associate Nonfiction Editor
I like to think that all of my narrators are spiritual successors to Holden Caulfield: whiny and immature, pseudo-intelligent, disillusioned young men.
Ashely Adams, Associate Nonfiction Editor
Harry Martinson's Aniara because then it would be originally written in English and I wouldn't have to scrape and save for an English translation of it. Supply and demand failing me from day one.
Deziree’ Brown, Associate Poetry Editor
Citizen by Claudia Rankine because she's a boss. No other words needed.
Annie Bilancini, Associate Fiction Editor
I'm going to say Pnin by Nabokov because of this sentence, which I wish I had written: "The accumulation of consecutive rooms in his memory now resembled those displays of grouped elbow chairs on show, and beds, and lamps, and inglebooks which, ignoring all space-time distinctions, commingle in the soft light of a furniture store beyond which it snows, and the dusk deepens, and nobody really loves anybody.”
Andrea Wuorenmaa, Associate Nonfiction Editor
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann. I wish I could write history like he does.