February 16, 2019

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Kate Atkinson: By the Book

Kate Atkinson: By the Book
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What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?

Sleep, sleep and more sleep.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” by Matthew Walker, is immensely readable and has made me attend much more to my need for sleep, although it unfortunately made me paranoid about my lack of it. I now try very hard for eight hours a night, something I previously thought was only for the weak.

What moves you most in a work of literature?

The death of animals. I have never recovered from the death of Ginger in “Black Beauty.” Not joking.

Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

I don’t avoid anything as such; I’m willing to give most things a go. But I don’t read much romance or sci-fi, and I tend to read very little crime these days. I don’t like all those “women in jeopardy” novels either, and there seem to be an awful lot of them.

How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? One book at a time or simultaneously? Morning or night?

Paper, simultaneously, several at a time, night, trains, planes, cars.

How do you organize your books?

Very badly.

What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

A lot of books about nutrition. I’ve been obsessed for years.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

“The Adventures of Augustus” — it’s a book within a book, in my novel “God in Ruins.” My British publishers made a special little edition as a gift so it looks like a real book. Which it is in my head, of course.

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