"Lucky for me, Iâ€™ve always been messy."
Reading recs and style suggestions from our newest Judge, Lenny Deputy Editor Laia Garcia
Book of the Month
Book of the Month: We're so excited to have you join our Book of the Month Judge panel. In one sentence, tell us about what kind of books you like to read.
Laia Garcia: I like to read books about weird women who live their lives wildly but not carelessly (well, my friend just says I like to read 'œexperimental feminist fiction' but that seems so bougie!!!)
BOTM: You selected All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg as your Book of the Month. You write, 'œ[All Grown Up is] A book for the women who are warned, but persist.' Were you warned?
LG: I think all women, nay, everyone is warned, since they are little. To stay in their lane and to behave a certain way, to abstain from certain things and indulge in others. It's the way to keep 'œorder' in the world. Lucky for me, I've always been messy.
BOTM: All Grown Up is a darkly funny story about a thirty something single woman living on her own terms, falling in and out of relationships, dealing with her flaky mother, and painting the Empire State Building (up until the view from her apartment is obstructed by new construction). What was your favorite part?
LG: It seems hard to pick a part because there were so many wonderful worlds contained in each chapter but it would be a tie between 'œBetsy,' where Andrea attends her mother's friends funeral, and 'œNina,' when we learn about the secret life of her co-worker Nina (and through it the secret lives of all women). I also love that chapter because of the line 'œevery day there is a little death waiting for me.'
Laia at Lenny's Brooklyn Heights Office
BOTM: All Grown Up is reminiscent of our very first selection, Lolly Willowes, which came out in 1926. Over 90 years later, Andrea in All Grown Up is often asked why she's not yet married with children the same question so frequently asked of Lolly. Will there come a time when a thirty or forty year old woman is not asked this question?
LG: Not in this generation or the next or the next or the next. Maybe when we've all moved to TRAPPIST-1, the new solar system, things will be different because humanity will have different needs?
BOTM: All Grown Up offers different ideas about what it means to be an adult'“'“getting married, having children, becoming financially independent. Which one do you think is the benchmark for true adulthood?
LG: I think it's actually the first time you get insanely sick and have to cook your own chicken soup, take yourself to the doctor, and buy your own medicines.
BOTM: You are the deputy editor at Lenny, a weekly newsletter about politics, culture, and style founded by Lena Dunham. What's your favorite piece you've worked on for Lenny?
LG: During the very first Lenny meeting, when we were just talking about what the newsletter would be and anything seemed like it was possible, I thought 'œwhat if we had Melissa Broder do our horoscopes?' and she's been doing them for us every month. I love her poetry and whereas with other horosopes I only ever read my sign, I always read the whole thing'“and not just because I edit them!
In terms of my own pieces, I think I'm still proudest of my interview with the artist Lisa Yuskavage.
LG: Good lighting is everything! I've learned to stay away from intense overhead lights (they give me crazy undereye bags), and also always angle your phone a bit higher (no extra chins!).
BOTM: As a writer for Lenny, you've interviewed authors and surfers, written about poetry and painters, and gotten the 411 on the Zika virus. How do you find time to read in the midst of all that writing??
LG: Honestly this is something that I am still struggling to figure out because it's not easy! My favorite place to read is definitely on the train, and also weirdly enough, can only read at my boyfriend's house (while he watches sports in the background). I cannot explain it, but the heart wants what it wants!
BOTM: We did some internet stalking and found out that in addition to being a writer, you are also a stylist with a keen eye for fashion. We're on the lookout for a great accessory to make available to Book of the Month members. What would you suggest?
LG: I am really into statement earrings these days! Basically wearing all different earrings in each ear'“I recently re-poked my second piercings I had done when I was 15! Just put an earring through and voila, still worked!'“or just wearing one single extravagant earring on one side (which has the added bonus that when your earlobe is like why are you doing this to me? I'm not made to carry this weight!, you can just switch it with your other ear and the look remains flawless!).
BOTM: Your Instagram profile reveals that you are a New York Rangers fan. What is one book you would recommend that every player on the team read?
LG: Hmm, this one is a hard one! But I think Wayne Koestenbaum's My 1980's and Other Essays? I just can't imagine anyone NOT falling in love with his beautiful sentences.