|photo: Henriette Lazaridis
Rory Power grew up in New England and went on to earn an M.A. in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia. Power now works as an editor of crime fiction and a story consultant for television and is the author of Wilder Girls and Burn Our Bodies Down, out now from Delacorte.
On your nightstand now:
The Ottolenghi Simple cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, which I'm leafing through every night for inspiration, and The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, which takes a risk with a point of view that I'm completely in love with.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Mossflower by Brian Jacques. I was obsessed with pretty much every Redwall book but a stoic, troubled hero recovering from a tragedy opposite a mad queen really had me hooked.
Your top five authors:
Edward St. Aubyn, for his impeccable voice and humor.
Nova Ren Suma, for the way she gives complicated girls space to grow.
Ali Smith, for the first sentence of Hotel World, which broke my brain in half.
N.K. Jemisin, for the Broken Earth trilogy, which is a must read.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, for the way his work is intricate and expansive in a way that never feels overwhelming.
Book you've faked reading:
It's cliché, but Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I tried. I really did.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman. She treats her characters with such respect and care, and their emotional arcs feel so fully realized.
Book you've bought for the cover:
At least 70% of my book purchases are cover buys, but a favorite is See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, which is beautifully odd inside and out.
Book you hid from your parents:
Nothing as a child, as I was incredibly lucky to grow up with parents who encouraged me to read whatever I wanted and pretty much left me to it, but as an adult I have hidden my uncracked copy of Dickens's Bleak House from my mother, the Dickens scholar, to whom I have pretended to have read it for coming up on 15 years.
Book that changed your life:
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. I'd written a first draft of my debut novel, Wilder Girls, that was an absolute mess and I had no idea what to do with it. Then I was handsold Annihilation at the Manhattan indie Three Lives & Company. I read it and realized I was allowed to focus my own work only on exactly what I cared about, which I hadn't quite figured out yet.
Favorite line from a book:
"There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls," from Dare Me by Megan Abbott. I saw this floating around the internet (okay, specifically Tumblr) in college, and it introduced me to Abbott's work, which I absolutely adore. I think she's so spot on with this line, both in how teenage girls can often feel and in how they're perceived by the world around them.
Five books you'll never part with:
My old paperback of Jane Eyre, which is creased to all hell from all of my rereads.
HHhH by Laurent Binet, which was given to me by an old boss, and which asks questions about historical fiction and about what we can consider true in such a poignant way.
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. It's the script of a play but I'll argue that it counts and encourage everyone who can to read it. Comforting and melancholy and the most gorgeous thing.
Among the Thugs by Bill Buford, the first book to introduce me to narrative nonfiction, and one of a handful of books that made me feel very accomplished when Gilmore Girls referenced them after I'd already read them.
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill, which packs more power into its handful of pages than I could ever have anticipated.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I never saw the ending coming, and it utterly wrecked me.