Book Brahmin: Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of the memoir Falling Through the Earth. Viking published her debut novel, Angelology, yesterday. She splits her time between the U.S. and France.

On your nightstand now:

I have a tower of books stacked on a Windsor chair next to my bed. If I lean over--I'm writing this in bed so it is easy to read the spines--I can see Paris by Andrew Hussey; The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester; The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelem Brillat-Savarin; Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie; and The Templars by Michael Haag.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I used to read anything I could find. I distinctly remember reading all of my mother's Danielle Steel books, but--growing up as I did in rural Wisconsin--I also liked the Little House on the Prairie series. It seems to me now that these writers are quite a strange mix. What does one get when one crosses Danielle Steel and Laura Ingalls Wilder? Sarah Palin?

Your top five authors:

If only Rob Fleming (Nick Hornby's list-making hero of High Fidelity) were here to help me make these choices! O.K., my top five authors in no particular order are: Colette, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe and pre-Magical Thinking Joan Didion. My previous top five list would have been: George Sand, Baudelaire, Virginia Woolf, Morrissey and Sylvia Plath. It strikes me that my taste could be deteriorating with age.

Book you've faked reading:

War and Peace by Tolstoy. I love 19th-century Russian writers, and I've read Anna Karenina, but I have yet to get through War and Peace. For some reason writerly pride never allows me to admit this.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clark. This novel is magical and meandering and addictive. I've read it three times.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I can't remember the title! It is a very thick graphic novel with a beautiful yellow and red and black cover. I bought it for my son, who is an obsessive reader. When he saw that there were no words inside he promptly shelved it. Oh wait, I remember the title now: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Book that changed your life:

A book of Edgar Allan Poe's collected stories that I read in high school. I skipped school to read it and realized that I was destined for truancy.

Favorite line from a book:

"I confess, this was unpleasant for me."--From The Gambler by Dostoevsky.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I love the surprising, effortless transformations that that Orlando undergoes. This novel is as timeless and as delightful as Ovid's Metamorphoses and makes me wish I could slip into the book and become a character.

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