Olivia Gentile, a former reporter for the Hartford Courant in Connecticut and Rutland Herald in Vermont, will appear at the Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 24 to present her book, Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds. She lives with her husband, satirist Andy Borowitz (who will also appear at the festival), in New York City; they are expecting their first baby.
What is on your nightstand?
I am about 50 pages into Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I like books that transport me. I just bought Ancestor's Tail by Richard Dawkins. I read his God Delusion, and I really liked it. I'm an atheist myself, and I think he made an articulate case why you should not be ashamed to admit you are an atheist. Another book is Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard. I had a hard time getting into it because the voice is unusual, but in the end, it is so worth it.
What drove you to finish it?
At the beginning, I had to read sentences twice before I could understand them, but actually it was the voice that finally seduced me. ... The next one is Middlemarch by George Eliot. I knew she was an early feminist, and I was interested in her women characters. But what struck me most of all is how human nature stays the same throughout the ages and around the world. The only problem is it is 800 pages long. And the last book is Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine. It was very calming to read. My doctor is full of gloom and doom . . . and I felt like Vicki is very positive and reassuring and funny.
What book will you read to your child?
My favorite children's book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I think it's such a wonderful flight of the imagination.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer