Judy Strick is a native of Southern California. She holds an MFA from Otis Art Institute, and in a former lifetime was a fine artist and then a toy designer. She studied screenwriting at AFI and fiction writing at UCLA, and has spent the last 10 years honing her novelistic skills. Kingdom Come, CA is her debut novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her 2.5 dogs. For more on Judy, visit her website, Facebook and Twitter.
At the moment there are no books by my bed, because when I’m writing myself, I am incapable of reading any other fiction. But when I’m on vacation all I do is read. So here are some books I’d bring along. First, two by Joyce Carol Oates. I love her story telling and her weirdness, and darkness and complexity. First book: Blonde, about the archetypal doomed goddess, Marilyn Monroe and the intense and poetic and mythic liberties Oates takes with the “true” story. From the first glimpse of the messenger on the bike, you know you’re in for a most unusual exploration of the life and times of a legend.
Second book: The Accursed, so densely crazed I can only compare it to Hieronymus Bosch and The Garden of Earthly Delights; so intense and fast moving, and filled with ridiculous improbabilities — that work if the reader lets go. From the 1905 Campus of Princeton, and Woodrow Wilson, we spin madly through a demon lover, an enslaved beauty, a Bog Kingdom, the rich eating the poor, curses, people turning to stone. I find it exhaustingly rich and wonderful.
Then I’d want to have Donna Tart’s The Little Friend. I love that woman’s voice. This is a book that feels like the Brothers Grimm; a book that invaded my dreams. A book told with such dark humor it kept me laughing, at the same time I was gasping in horror. The setting is Mississippi, about the quest for truth that young Harriet sets off on in trying to solve the mysterious death of her little brother. On her search she encounters a rich cast of crazy characters from a corner preacher, to a family of sociopths, a drug dealer, snake handlers, and a villianous pair of brothers, that the headstrong plucky Harriet pursues to a terrifying end. The ultimate conclusion-— sometimes there is no ‘truth’.
I’d want Anne Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, one of the non-fiction books on my list; the story of her long friendship with Lucy Greeley, as the young poet was slowly being transfigured by jaw cancer. It’s a beautiful horror story, with moments of great humor, about love and endurance through the worst of all possible times.
Looks like there’s no beach lit on my booklist. Perhaps Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being A Woman might lighten the mood. I guess the title says it all.
What do you read to lighten the mood?