Reading with... Brigid Hughes

Brigid Hughes is the founding editor of A Public Space. Previously, she worked at the Paris Review with George Plimpton, succeeding him as editor in 2003. This fall A Public Space will launch APS Books with the publication of Bette Howland's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.

On your nightstand now:


Favorite book when you were a child:

A three-way tie: Frog and Toad; George and Martha, a series about two hippos; and D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, which my father used to read to us.

Your top five authors:

It is an ever-shifting hierarchy, but on my desk at the moment are books by: Mercè Rodoreda, Julio Cortázar, Etel Adnan, Anne Carson, Donald Barthelme and Friederike Mayröcker.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The books of every author in A Public Space! And I have great admiration for Kevin Prufer's efforts to bring the poet Russell Atkins's work back into print.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Bette Howland's W-3. With a very 1970s black-and-green cover, and a blurb from Saul Bellow. Bought for $1 at a used bookstore.

Book you hid from your parents:

There were books everywhere, and not really a need to hide anything. If they noticed us reading the wrong books, they didn't let us know.

Book that changed your life:

Accounting for Dummies.

Favorite line from a book:

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas. The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexis of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time." --from the opening of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel

Five books you'll never part with:

Yiyun Li's essays Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. A chapbook of Amy Leach's essay "Warbler Delight." Issue 32 of Triquarterly magazine, from the Charles Newman era. An inscribed edition of Seamus Heaney's Field Work, from the first reading I went to when I was very young. ‚ÄčAnd apparently, since it's still in the bookcase collecting dust, the GRE English literature study guide.

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

Shirley Hazzard's The Great Fire

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