Literary Lions: 15 Questions with Nina Revoyr
Nina Revoyr: My 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Goldberg. She also once told me to “shut the fuck up” at a moment when I needed to hear it. I guess it was about helping me figure out when and how to use my voice. Later, she was the person who encouraged me to apply to college.
JT: What is your biggest pet peeve?
NR: Rudeness, meanness, superiority, biting sarcasm. Which are probably all versions of the same thing.
JT: What book has given you nightmares, or otherwise appeared to you in dreams?
NR: When I was a little kid, I used to dream myself into The Chronicles of Narnia. I was a prince with a kick-ass horse.
JT: What book(s) are you reading right now?
NR: Wanderlust: A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit. I’d expected a simple, nature-y travelogue, which would have been fine—but this book is way more than that. It tackles philosophy, biology, urban planning, mountaineering, religion. It’s brilliant. It’s making my head spin.
JT: If you could invite one living person to dinner, who would it be?
NR: Bill Clinton. Hillary could come, too.
JT: Who (living) do you wish would invite YOU to dinner?
NR: Jon Krakauer. I love his work and I’m obsessed with mountains. He’s fiercely intelligent and intensely prickly; it would be a trip to meet him. And Connie Rice, who’s a civil rights attorney here in LA and a real idol of mine. I know her but tend to get star-struck and tongue-tied around her. She’s the second cousin of Condoleeza—they’re total opposites ideologically, although maybe not in temperament. It might be fun to have dinner with both of them, but then I’d have to invite my dad. He thinks Condi is the perfect woman.
JT: What is the worst film adaptation of a great book that you have ever seen?
NR: All the Pretty Horses. I never got past the trailer. Even that was so bad it was funny, but it made me appreciate the book even more.
JT: What was the best movie made in the 1970s?
NR: Star Wars. Is there really any question?
JT: Have you ever been to a town hall meeting?
NR: More than I care to admit.
JT: How many professional baseball games have you been to in the last two years?
NR: Four or five. I’m blessed to live in a two-team town—since Anaheim is, apparently, now a part of Los Angeles. I don’t go to the ballpark that often, but I watch a bit of an Angels or Dodgers game most nights on TV when I get home from work.
JT: Who’s your favorite author (or book) that no one’s ever heard of?
NR: Mary Yukari Waters’s The Laws of Evening. It’s an unbelievably beautiful book. People know her, but not nearly enough.
JT: Who’s your favorite author that everyone’s heard of?
NR: James Baldwin.
JT: Do you avoid high school and college reunions or do you embrace them?
NR: Avoid. Although I did attend my 20th high school reunion, just to see Mrs. Goldberg.
JT: What’s your favorite single-syllable word?
JT: If you could make up a word, what would it be? No definitions permitted.
NINA REVOYR is the author of multiple novels, including The Necessary Hunger, Southland, The Age of Dreaming, and Wingshooters. Southland was a Book Sense 76 pick, won the Lambda Literary Award, and was a Los Angeles Times “Best Book” of 2003. The Age of Dreaming was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Revoyr lives and works in Los Angeles.
Posted: Apr 17, 2013
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