by Leonard Gill
Wanna know what books Ann Beattie’s got on her night stand right now? The New York Times knows, because the paper just asked her.
Top of the list is Memphian Corey Mesler’s latest novel, Memphis Movie. And it’s right up there with Paragon Park by poet Mark Doty, who spent time in Memphis growing up.
Among Beattie’s all-time favorite short stories? “The Fireman’s Wife” by Richard Bausch, who taught a few years ago at the University of Memphis, along with “The Womanizer” by Richard Ford and “No Place for You, My Love” by Eudora Welty, two of Mississippi’s finest, living (Ford) or dead (Welty). Among the best writers, period, working today? Beattie lists Elizabeth Spencer, born in Carrollton, Mississippi, in 1921.
But if you haven’t read any of the above, don’t be too hard on yourself. The book that Beattie is embarrassed to say she’s never read: On the Road by Jack Kerouac. •