Leila Slimani: By the Book | Modern Society of USA

Leila Slimani: By the Book

Leila Slimani: By the Book

The author of “Adèle” and “The Perfect Nanny” (one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2018) likes the fact that her shelves are a mess: “It takes me a long time to find the book I need, and very often I find another one I had totally forgotten about.”

What books are on your nightstand?

A collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov and another one by Maupassant. “The Journal of Jules Renard,” which continues to move me and inspire me.

What’s the last great book you read?

“Ce qui reste de nos vies,” by Zeruya Shalev. I admire her so much. She is an extraordinary writer.

What’s your go-to classic?

My favorite classic is probably “Anna Karenina.” But I love “Madame Bovary” also.

What moves you most in a work of literature?

What I find magical about literature is when the voice of the writer is unique but you feel at the same time that he or she has managed to express universality.

Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

I can read anything, but I must confess that I am not a huge fan of science fiction or fantasy.

What book by somebody else do you wish you had written?

“Blonde,” by Joyce Carol Oates.

How do you organize your books?

Oh my god! I don’t organize them at all. They are a total mess, but I like that. It takes me a long time to find the book I need, and very often I find another one I had totally forgotten about.

What’s the last book you recommended to someone in your family?

“The Children Act,” by Ian McEwan.

What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

“Robot Dreams,” by Isaac Asimov.

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?

Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Thérèse Desqueyroux. And my favorite villain is Vautrin in Balzac’s novels or Javert in “Les Misérables.”

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