‘One battle with an army of the undead is enough for me’ … Emma Glass. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian
THE BOOKS THAT MADE ME
Emma Glass: ‘Game of Thrones is overrated. Give me The Lord of the Rings any day'
The author on the allure of Truman Capote, rereading Susan Hill and having her life changed by Kafka The book I am currently reading
Friday 8 February 2019
I’m not usually a slow reader but I have been savouring each luxurious line of Swan Song, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott’s novel about Truman Capote, set in the 1970s. It’s long, but I am fully immersed in the glamour of his society.
The book that changed my life
Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis troubled me at first because it broke all the rules. There was no explanation, no sympathy only absurdity and suffering. This is the book that made me realise I could write through a distorted lens and still convey truth.
The books I think are most overrated
The Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. One battle with an army of the undead is enough for me. Give me The Lord of the Rings any day.
The book I wish I’d written
I don’t know how Carmen Maria Machado manages to modernise gothic fiction so distinctively and sensually, but she does in her beautiful collection Her Body and Other Parties.
The book I’m most ashamed not to have read
Zadie Smith’s White Teeth seems to have passed me by.
The last book that made me cry
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi. I usually steer clear of books about medicine but Kalinithi’s memoir offers a heartbreaking perspective on what it feels like to step out of the role of doctor, directly into the shoes of a patient.
The last book that made me laugh
French Exit by Patrick deWitt. The protagonist believes her cat is possessed by the spirit of her dead husband, Frank. The cat is called Small Frank!
The book that most influenced me
Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis profoundly affected how I see the reader and understand the power of the first-person narrator.
The book I couldn’t finish
Most of Dickens. I love the few Dickens novels I have read (Great Expectations, Hard Times), but the sheer weight of Bleak House makes me feel queasy and inadequate. All of those words, so many words, would be lost on me.
My earliest reading memory
Peace at Last by Jill Murphy. I’ve never been a good sleeper and on all of those nights I lay awake I can remember considering creeping downstairs to sleep out in the car, but it always seemed too far for my little tired legs.
My reading guilty pleasure
I have read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill many times and it never fails to spook me.
The book I most often give as a gift
Tenth of December by George Saunders. Absurd, funny, upsetting, it’s utter perfection.
• Peach by Emma Glass is published in paperback by Bloomsbury. She has been longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas prize.