Reading and writing

Kristen Radtke: Reading as an antidote to loneliness

BOOKS: What would you recommend from your research?

RADTKE: Sherry Turkle’s “Retrieve the conversationWhich explains how technology has changed the way we talk. There is this great book, “Witches, witch hunts and women», By Silvia Federici. She writes that one of the reasons the witch hunts took place was that women got together to talk and those in power didn’t like it. I also loved “SpeakBy Linda Rosenkrantz, which is a book of transcribed and edited conversations from this summer that these friends spent together. When it came out in the ’60s critics swept it aside because they thought it didn’t sound like people talking, which is hilarious because it was real people talking.

BOOKS: When was the last time you read just for fun?

RADTKE: I would say six months ago. I like to read essays. The most recent collection that I adored is that of Larissa Pham “Pop song. “It’s beautiful and fun, and weaves cultural criticism, art and art history together with a personal narrative. Jordan Kisner’s”Thin placesDoes that too.

BOOKS: Do you largely read current essays?

RADTKE: I probably read mostly stuff that has come out in the last couple of years. If I come back to old things, it is because the subject interests me or because I have read recent work by an author and I want to read his old catalog. I did this with Maggie Nelson many years ago. I did this with graphic novelists, like Nick Drnaso, who wrote “Sabrina», A terrifying and strange graphic novel.

BOOKS: Who is your favorite essayist?

RADTKE: Joan Didion. My favorite is “The white album. “I think it’s interesting to read her older works alongside her current books. She’s been writing about culture for so long that we can see the whole arc of her life, which is a rare gift for one. reader.

BOOKS: Is there a graphic novelist who you’ve read everything he’s written?

RADTKE: Adrien Tomine. He is a great storyteller with words and images. His prose is as sharp as it would be in a novel. He doesn’t use narration, everything happens in dialogue, so it has to be super neat.

BOOKS: When did you start reading graphic novels?

RADTKE: I read the “” of Marjane SatrapiPersepolis”My sophomore year in college and loved it. When I started working on graphic shapes, I had her books and Alison Bechdel’s books open on my desk. I kept rereading them to see how they made a story work.

BOOKS: Is there a graphic novel that you would like to be better known?

RADTKE: “Grass»By Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. It’s about Korean comfort women and their beauty. More people should read this for sure.

BOOKS: What other kind of books do you read?

RADTKE: I like novels, but if I write essays, I only want to read essays. I embarked on a huge novel the year before the pandemic. I loved that of Megha Majumdar “A burning, “by Julie Buntin”Marlena, “and Bryan Washington”Memorial. “

BOOKS: How has the pandemic affected your reading?

RADTKE: It got harder for me to read because I was so busy and the world was so upside down. It was absurd to engage in a book on the boredom of the suburbs.

BOOKS: Do you think reading can relieve loneliness?

RADTKE: Absoutely. Reading gives you access to other ways of thinking. It helps you see yourself in someone else’s story, which is a huge antidote to loneliness. The problem with loneliness is that you feel like no one else has felt the same way you did before. The books show you that is not true.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @GlobeBiblio. Amy Sutherland is the author, most recently, of “Save Penny Jane»And can be reached at [email protected].

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson