|photo: Cam Cowen
A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sophie Hudson loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire seasons of TV shows in record time. Her first book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, was released in June 2013; her second book is Home Is Where My People Are (Tyndale House). Hudson lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Ala. She blogs at BooMama.net.
On your nightstand now:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain; We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (I love me some YA fiction); Yes Please by Amy Poehler; Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech; and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I am apparently the last person in America to read this book). You may be picking up on the fact that I have a book commitment problem. I always seem to read four or five at a time but they're usually from different genres.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I was in third grade when I discovered how much I love a good mystery, so I devoured all of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drewbooks. I would literally stay up all night to read them--even when I was eight.
Your top five authors:
I have a strong bent towards Southern Gothic, so it's probably no surprise that I count Tennessee Williams and Flannery O'Connor among my favorites. I'm also very fond of Eudora Welty (or, as Mississippians say, "Miss Welty") and Harper Lee. Anne Lamott is hands-down my favorite writer of nonfiction.
Book you've faked reading:
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad--I'm sure it's a wonderful book, but I just couldn't get through it. The fact that I was a senior in high school at the time may have had something to do with that.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger--I think it is heartbreakingly, breathtakingly, brilliantly beautiful. I didn't read it for the longest time because the horse on the cover made me think that it was a book about cowboys (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course). When I finally read it, though, it flat-out preached to me about family and fear and story and purpose. It's a treasure.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I bought Wonder by R.J. Palacio for two reasons: 1) our son wanted to read it and 2) I thought the cover was fantastic. It turned out to be a win-win; it's one of our son's all-time favorite books, and it's a nice decorative accent on the nightstand in our guest room (I'm crazy about the pop of color). I can't wait to read it.
Book that changed your life:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker was the first book that ever struck me as beautiful, and it was the first time I read a novel and felt a deep, inexplicable attachment to the characters. I loved them so much; they stayed with me and affected me long after I finished reading. A close second in this category is Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons.
Favorite line from a book:
Technically it's two lines from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird--but I can't read them without crying: "Atticus, he was real nice...." "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."
Which character you most relate to:
Probably Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. She's stubborn, and sometimes she's a little too outspoken for her own good. Plus, she's nosy. But at the end of the day, when she really pays attention and listens, she's teachable. I hope I am, too.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Oh, gosh--probably Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Even though the kind of writing I do is conversational, I can be a real perfectionist about it. Bird by Bird gave me permission to write bad first drafts, to stop stressing out and to celebrate small victories. I felt immeasurably encouraged after I read it for the first time, and it would be really nice to feel that way again (especially before I start whatever I write next). Anne Lamott is so gifted, and when I read anything she writes--even tweets--I want to do better. Even though she is a complete stranger, I'm deeply grateful for her.