|photo: Amy Touchette
Carley Moore is an essayist, novelist and poet. She's a queer single mom, Vans lover and #catwife. She is the author of the YA novel The Stalker Chronicles (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), and the poetry chapbook Portal Poem (Dancing Girl Press). In 2018, Tinderbox Editions published her essay collection 16 Pills. The Not Wives (Feminist Press, September 10, 2019) is her first novel. She lives in New York City and teaches at NYU and Bard College.
On your nightstand now:
My cat chews books on my nightstand, so I keep the current reads under my covers. Right now, I'm reading and loving Edinburgh by Alexander Chee. It's a beautiful, haunting book about sexual violence, boyhood, coming of age and sexuality. One of the most perfectly crafted books I've ever read. It puts me in a trance.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was my favorite book as a child. I was a very sick, sometimes bed-bound kid, and I also had a stuffed bunny I believed was real, so, yeah, that's all pretty straightforward. But as I child I believed my toys were real, so the idea of toy being so loved it became a real rabbit was a dream come true for me.
Your top five authors:
Michelle Tea, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Alice Munro, Elena Ferrante and Jamaica Kincaid.
Book you've faked reading:
Most things by Charles Dickens, but definitely Bleak House. I just can't with him, though I did love A Tale of Two Cities, but that was because my 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Doorman (shout out to English teachers!), was amazing and got us so hyped up about the book with costumes, acting out scenes and plot intrigue.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor. It's one of the most inventive and fun novels I've read in a long while and it's set in the queer '90s, so what's not to love?
Book you've bought for the cover:
Cool for You by Eileen Myles has the sexiest, most badass cover of a butch girl smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer in an old '70s chair with an afghan like my grandma used to make hanging off the back of the chair. It's like all of the living rooms of my childhood.
Book you hid from your parents:
My parents were very cool about books and I could read whatever I wanted, but I did sometimes feel ashamed of my Sweet Valley High and V.C. Andrews addictions.
Book that changed your life:
So many books have changed my life, but most recently the Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante. There is no other writer like her--the urgency, the trance-like quality she creates for the reader, the lives of her two female characters and the plot. Wow.
Favorite line from a book:
"Don't you feel like disappearing from your life sometimes?" --from Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy
Five books you'll never part with:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I loved a magical revision of a classic, and the shift to Bertha Mason's story from Jane Eyre's. It changes everything about the original and forces us to think about an entirely different narrative.