|photo: Wes Taylor
Jenn Bane and Trin Garritano are the coauthors of Friendshipping: The Art of Finding Friends, Being Friends, and Keeping Friends (Workman), and the cohosts of the Friendshipping podcast, a feel-good advice show about making friends.
Bane is a writer, editor and producer who has received three Shorty Awards and a Clio Award for her work in comedy writing and production. Garritano is a writer and game developer. Most recently, she contributed to Asmadi Games' tabletop roleplaying game 1001 Odysseys and the Victorian dating simulator Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business.
On your nightstand now:
Jenn Bane: I just finished Luster by Raven Leilani in two sittings. It's so addicting and so uncomfortable. I can't wait to see what the author does next. I also just picked up All Adults Here by Emma Straub. Contemporary fiction is my favorite genre and I have no doubt I'll love this book.
Trin Garritano: I've been slowly nibbling at Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature over the past while. For whatever reason, knowing that we're living in just a teeny-tiny slice of Earth's vast history quells my existential dread (temporarily).
Favorite book when you were a child:
Bane: I loved Goodnight Moon because my mom read it to me and that meant I got to delay bedtime. Also, it was the first time I ever noticed that words and art could evoke "loneliness." I wasn't a particularly lonely kid, but the book made me feel that way when I read it. That really got me thinking.
Garritano: Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time series knocked my socks off when I was 10. Experiencing science fiction that is empathetic, optimistic and deeply spiritual was absolutely brain-changing for me. Also, there's a girl in it, which blew my mind.
Your top five authors:
Bane: Curtis Sittenfeld, Roxane Gay, David Sedaris, Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Joan Didion, Laura Lippman, Tana French and I know I'm over five here but I can't help it.
Garritano: Ray Bradbury, Bill Bryson, Madeleine L'Engle, Garth Nix and David Sedaris, I think? I am basing this entirely on the number of books per author on my shelf.
Book you've faked reading:
Bane: Tess of the d'Urbervilles in English class sophomore year of high school. I just couldn't do it, I still can't and I never will.
Garritano: Moby-Dick. I've been assigned to read it three separate times in school and I've gotten away with completely ignoring it every single time. In a way, I am Moby-Dick's white whale. I will never read it. I will never be captured and turned into perfume.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Bane: The Secret History by Donna Tartt. The tension! The quiet chaotic group dynamics! How it all unravels! I'm just forever searching for another book like this one.
Garritano: How Not to Kill Your Houseplant by Veronica Peerless is a great resource for anyone who keeps plants in their home. It's clear and concise, and it gives a solid overview of care for 119 different houseplants.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Bane: I enjoyed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein when I read it, but I specifically bought a copy when I saw it with the blue cloth cover with anatomical hearts all over it. So morbid.
Garritano: I grew up on webcomics, but Fables by Bill Willingham was the first printed comic I ever got into. Mark Buckingham drew me in with the cover of issue 67, The Good Prince. There's something about a person with a sword in their hands facing impossible odds that speaks to me.
Book you hid from your parents:
Bane: I didn't need to hide books from my parents, actually. I did hide video games. I secretly played my older brother's violent fantasy games on the computer and they did not love that.
Garritano: Please see my next answer.
Book that changed your life:
Bane: Probably To Kill a Mockingbird, which is the cliche but truthful answer. Thank goodness for that book.
Garritano: My eighth grade English teacher once loaned me a copy of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and I stayed up all night reading it so I could hide it from my parents. In retrospect, I don't think they would have cared. But it was so dark and so different than anything I'd ever read, it felt like contraband. Anyway, it melted my brain and turned me into the weird nerd I am today. Thanks, Mrs. C.
Favorite line from a book:
Bane: From Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass:
"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men--go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families--re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul."
I used this in my wedding vows. Great advice in 1855, great advice now.
Garritano: From Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth:
"Whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer."
This has been my guiding light for decades. Learn everything, love everyone and tread gently on the world.
Five books you'll never part with:
Bane: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (which is completely worn down and torn up from being reread so many times), A Separate Peace by John Knowles and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. "All children, except one, grow up." That has to be of the best opening lines ever.
Garritano: Code Name "Mary": Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground by Muriel Gardiner, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, A Testament of Revolution by Bela Liptak, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fossils, and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I like to think Jenn is the Neil Gaiman of our partnership (tight, solid writing with a dry wit), and I am the Terry Pratchett (ridiculous human being, the wettest possible wit).
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Bane: The Giver by Lois Lowry. The moment when you realize as the reader that Jonas is seeing color for the very first time--I want to experience that again.
Garritano: Goodbye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson spoke directly to the loneliness and misery of my early 20s. I finished it lying on the floor, weeping. I'm not exactly interested in an hours-long crying session again, but it meant so much to feel understood.