1. Talk Stories, Jamaica Kincaid
"I’m beginning this list in the year I was 21, since before that, who knows what I was. In my application to journalism school, I was asked to say, in a short essay, whose work I wanted mine to be like. We didn’t grow up with The New Yorker in the house, but I knew it was important. I researched The New Yorker writers until I found someone whose writing I could describe as 'silvery' – light, semi-precious, quick – and that someone was Jamaica Kincaid, in her columns for Talk of the Town."
2. The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone
"Shulamith Firestone was the first feminist polemic I read after The Second Sex that made me care about being a woman. It also made me care about Marx. I mean, sort of."
3. The Glass Essay, Anne Carson
"I’ve joked that the Brontës were my Babysitter’s Club, but they were. Anne Carson understands.
'I don’t want to be sexual with you, he said. Everything gets crazy.
But now he was looking at me.
Yes, I said as I began to remove my clothes'
Months ago I texted to this to a man and he said Anne Carson and Drake are the two best Canadian lyricists."
4. Radical Love, Fanny Howe
"It took me a decade to find a new Bible and it’s this. No book – a collection of books, of short novels – better captures the feeling of perihelion, of being colder when we’re closest to the sun."
5. Alien Hearts, Guy de Maupassant
"When I was a kid I read this awful Margaret Mitchell thing, Lost Laysen, and decided the novella would be my form. Not that I used the words 'my form.' I liked the in-between deftness its size and scope implied; moreso, I liked the way 'novella' felt to say. Alien Hearts isn’t a novella, but it reads like one – or else, because it’s funny and crooked and terribly romantic and hellishly superficial and doomed, it reads like the novella I want to write."