Sunday, December 17, 2017
Books

What's actor Annabelle Gurwitch reading?

Nightstand

Annabelle Gurwitch

After 15 years of marriage, actor Gurwitch (Dinner and a Movie) and writer Jeff Kahn (The Ben Stiller Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), who are also television personalities, have adapted their memoir, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up! for the stage. It's playing at Tampa's Straz Center through Oct. 14. For information on the show, call (813) 229-7827 or visit strazcenter.org.

After graduating from Miami Beach High School in 1980, Gurwitch defected to New York to pursue an acting career. Gurwitch, who now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and teenage son, spoke with us by phone Sept. 19.

What's on your nightstand?

I'm always reading. It's my great escape. I can't afford vacation, and books do the exact same thing for me without hassle of a full body search at the airport. So, the book that I'm almost finished with is Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. It's a hilarious book of letters and emails. It's about a woman who has a great disappointment in life. It's a downward spiral, but it's hilarious. What I really love is that it's a really deep book that's masquerading as comedy. ... Here's a great line from the book. "People like you must create. If you don't create you'll become a menace to society.''

I've also got a scholarly book, Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization. Stephen Cave wrote based on the idea that all the motivation of individual acts of the human species goes back to evolutionary biology and the desire to be immortal.

Do you want to be immortal?

I want to be immortal as long as there's a really, really great cafe con leche waiting for me in the endless life. Actually, seriously, I don't want to be immortal because as a parent, and I didn't really think of this before reading the book, you'd be taking resources away from the next generation.

Do you recommend Cave's book?

Yes. It is a serious book, but what I love most about it is what I call a braingasm. It provoked the realization, "Oh my God. I never thought immortality through before.'' You walk away after reading with knowledge that you can really use at a dinner party later.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at [email protected]

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