Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Books

What's Jonathan Tropper reading?

Nightstand

Jonathan Tropper

If you haven't read it yet, you have until Sept. 19 to read Tropper's hilarious novel This Is Where I Leave You before it hits the big screen with Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne and Tina Fey. The story centers around Judd Foxman, whose father, Mort, has died. Mort's unexpected dying wish was that his family sit shiva, the seven-day period of traditional Jewish mourning. In addition to dealing with his dysfunctional family for a week, Judd is also reeling from his wife's infidelity. Tropper is also the co-creator of the Cinemax show Banshee as well as the author of Plan B, The Book of Joe, Everything Changes, How to Talk to a Widower and One Last Thing Before I Go. We recently caught up with the writer, who is much more serious on the phone than you'd expect, while he conducted business in Los Angeles.

What's on your nightstand?

It's a busy time for me to read, but there are books I want to get to. There's The Art of Fielding (by Chad Harbach), the newest John Irving book (In One Person). ... I also want to read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Now the last book that I read was Beautiful Ruins (by Jess Walter).

Who would you recommend that one to?

Anyone can read it who wants to read an engrossing piece of fiction. It was great. It's universal. He's telling a story that expands decades. There's a contemporary edge, but there's a timeless quality to the backstory.

You wrote the screenplay for This Is Where I Leave You. Do you enjoy the process of switching over a novel to a screenplay?

I enjoy it only as much as not wanting someone else to do it. It's difficult. Sometimes the book, it seems, becomes an obstacle. You get sort of mired in the logic for the book. Sometimes it takes you longer to figure out what you should do. When I've lived with characters for five or six years, it's hard for them to be reimagined.

What do you think is your strongest attribute as a writer?

I would have to say that my strongest attribute is that I have a psychological intuition into human behavior. I think I'm able to portray human behavior well. It's not like I don't care about prose and writing, but it is an understanding of people and what makes them tick.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

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