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Amazon Asks: Andrew Sean Greer, on Camping Gear, Food, and "The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells"

Andrew Sean Greer_ please credit Kaliel Roberts Andrew Sean Greer's fourth novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, was selected as one of our Best Books of the Month for July. Our reviewer, Sara Nelson, called it an "achingly lovely novel (that) examines the power of nostalgia and longing and hope ... Deftly and with great heart, Greer shows us that sadness is universal and timeless. But then, so is love."

Visit the book's Amazon page on Amazon for Greer's playlist of songs that inspired him (topped by When Tomorrow Comes by The Eurythmics).

What's on your nightstand/Kindle?

A lot a LOT of Margaret Atwood because I'm writing a piece about her trilogy; Lethem's The Ecstasy of Influence; and some recent poetry and fiction: Mario Alberto Zambrano's wonderful Loteria, Darrell Bourque's Megan's Guitar and Madeline McDonnell's beautiful tiny book Penny, n. Oh, and the reading copy of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells with signatures from people who come to my readings.

Important book you never read?

Don Quixote. I picked it up once in a bookstore and my friend Daniel looked at me and said, "really? really?"

What's your most memorable author moment?

Standing in the Roman Forum one warm summer night, before a crowd of thousands, lights on me, Philip Glass music playing, and giving a reading of my story "Darkness." The kind of thing you always think being a writer would lead to, but rarely does--except for this one beautiful time!

What are you obsessed with now?

Camping equipment. I happen to be married to someone who gets obsessively involved with any sport no matter how brief the contact, so we've been investing in ridiculously light camping gear on the fantasy that one day we will take a bicycle camping trip. Actual use? Car camping for the fourth of July. The whole kit seems to weigh five pounds, and I intend to eat a lot more than that in hot dogs.

GretaWhat are you stressed about now?

Egypt! How can you not be stressed about Egypt? I spent a few days with Mona Eltahawy recently and her passion and rage is all that persuades me something can come of this, so please everybody listen to her! Follow her tweets!

What are you psyched about now?

Food! There's a farmer's market a block away from my house in San Francisco, and it's July, so that means tons of tomatoes, peaches, squash blossoms, weird things i don't recognize, all while a dude plays French songs on the accordion. Alas, book tour means I miss out on the whole thing, but a boy can dream!

Author crush?

I think if I met Hilary Mantel I would get very shaky and weird and say something inappropriate that would make her walk away. Since that's how most of my crushes have responded over the years, I would nominate her as my current crush.

(Photo by Kaliel Roberts)


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