Marnie Michaels' Favorite Books
Our August Guest Judge on Girls, reading, and more
Book of the Month, Allison Williams
8 questions with our awesome Guest Judge, Allison Williams, who you probably know as Marnie Michaels in the hit HBO show, Girls.
Circling the Sun, the novel you selected for Book of the Month, is a fictional story about a real woman who, as you point out, is torn between two worlds -- born in England and raised in Kenya. Â You also mention she is 'œunpolished and irreverent...brave and naÃ¯ve.' Â Are there things about her story that remind you of your own life?
Allison Williams: When I was younger, I felt very connected to nature and the outdoors in general. This evolved into a love and passion for archaeology and anthropology, both of which I studied in college (though I majored in English). I grew up going to a ranch in Montana each summer, so I have also always adored horses. My relationship to that little girl is one of the things I hold most dear to me in my adult life. However, I don't want to misrepresent myself '“ my childhood contained a fraction of the fantastic and otherworldly adventures that Beryl's did.
You were an English major at Yale and have been very vocal about your love of reading. What was your favorite book growing up?
That's an easy one. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I still reread it from time to time.
Marnie Michaels, your character on the hit show Girls, is often described as high-strung and image conscious. What would she say is her favorite book?
Her answer to that would probably change with each boyfriend. Her first answer, when she was dating Charlie, would probably have been The Andy Warhol Diaries, since she wanted to be in the art world. Then, when she was with Booth Jonathan, her answer would have been What is the What by Dave Eggers. When she was with Ray, she would have said The Shining by Stephen King, because'¦why not. And when she was with Desi, she would have said her favorite book was Just Kids by Patti Smith. Now that she's on her own, I would bet her favorite book is also one of mine: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It's a totally unreliable narrative written messily but profoundly by a woman who was younger than she seemed. Sounds about right to me.
Who are some of the contemporary writers that you think best speak for the Girls generation?
Bossypants by Tina Fey has to be up there'¦obviously Lena Dunham is one such other as well. Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates should be in there'¦definitely Zadie Smith'¦ I'm going to include Leslie Jamison and her beautiful Empathy Exams because I've gotten to know and love her'¦and I don't think this would be an honest list if I didn't include Nicholas Sparks. Oh, and Roxane Gay for sure.
You've said that you write in your journal 'œone line a day.' That sounds cool! Any plans to share with the public or to write your own book?
I would never share that journal with the public! But I highly recommend buying one. As for writing my own book, I don't have any plans to do so. At this point in my career, I think it's more important for me to help tell others' stories than it is for me to tell my own. Someday, definitely. I think I'd write Fiction first, but I've definitely got some personal essays in me. Someday!
What literary character would you be most excited to play in a TV show or movie?
I would actually love to play Beryl from Circling the Sun. Although I'm sure someone already has the role, it would be an honor and a challenge. I love a challenge!
You are very involved with Horizons, an organization that supports academic achievement for low-income children across the country. What does this work mean to you, and how does the program work? Â
The work means more to me than I can say. Horizons changes lives very tangibly and individually by working with students from low-income families. We turn their summers from sedentary days spent falling behind in school into happy, learning and adventure-filled weeks. They return every year from Pre-K until they graduate from high school, and we send the vast majority of our students onto higher learning. Horizons works to combat summer slide, and each program creates its own family that is individual to its surroundings and community. It's an amazing organization, and I'm so proud to be so linked to it.
Your adorable dog Moxie is somewhat of a star on your Instagram feed. Â A lot of pets are becoming social media stars in their own right. Â (We've worked with Lil Bub and AlbertBabyCat recently.) Â Any chance that Moxie will get his own account one of these days?
Moxie is certainly the most adorable and hilarious presence in my life, currently, but I don't know about giving her her own page. I can barely remember to contribute to my own page!
Thank you very much Allison. Happy reading!