Book Brahmin: Jessica Maria Tuccelli

While a student at MIT, Jessica Maria Tuccelli had a change of heart and left the field of molecular biology for anthropology. Since then she has parlayed her curiosity with other people's lives (some call it nosiness) into a career in the arts. Viking/Penguin published her debut novel, Glow, on March 15, 2012. She divides her time between New York City and Rome.

On your nightstand now:

Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History by Robert Hughes, Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich, Il Nuovo Testamento (the New Testament in Italian), The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson and Shards by Ismet Prcic. Basically a slice of my life: research for my new novel, a book to help me understand my toddler's development and a novel set in Bosnia, where I recently traveled.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. I still hope to step through that mirror one day!

Your top five authors:

Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Flannery O'Connor, Michael Chabon and the poetry of Victoria Redel. I enjoy writers whose love of language is boldly apparent.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never read Moby Dick. I didn't fake reading it, but I didn't admit to not reading it either!

Book you're an evangelist for:

It's a four-way tie between The Bluest Eye, The Known World, The Things They Carried and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I seem to favor books with the word "The" in the title. I never noticed that before.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (U.K. edition). I covet that cover, so complete in its design, evocative and allegorical.

Book that changed your life:

The Diary of Anaïs Nin. I wanted to be Anaïs--her intense curiosity, her impassioned lifestyle, living in France in the '20s and '30s (the golden age of the literary expatriate in Paris) and carousing with Henry and June Miller.

Favorite line from a book:

"Tomas did not realize that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love." --from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

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

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

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