We are so fortunate to work with three smart, capable, and independent interns—especially this year, when our staff is spread across the country while we all work remotely! Bree, Campbell, and Ellie all play instrumental roles in the success of this year’s Boston Book Festival. We sat down with them (virtually, of course!) to hear about the books that have inspires them—and the ones they’re most excited about reading next!
What is your favorite book?
Ellie: One of my favorite books is If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. This book is a magnificent mingling of two of my favorite things–Shakespeare and murdery mystery. Set at a Shakespeare conservatory, Oliver Marks is one of seven players who struggle to find normalcy as the plays they perform begin to imitate the lives they lead.
Bree: This is always such a loaded question, as it’s impossible for me to just choose one! But for a while, my favorite book has been Southland by Nina Revoyr. It’s a story about love, loss, family, and the painful race and class issues that make up Los Angeles’s history. The characters are captivating, with a slow progression that makes the ending worthwhile. I read it as a junior in college and have come back to it ever since.
Campbell: Dawn from the Lillith’s Brood series by Octavia Butler. Dawn is the first in a sci-fi series that takes place after the end of the world when an alien species captures all remaining living humans intending to breed with them. The main character, Lillith, is a human woman fighting for the survival of her kind. This wild premise allows Butler to explore intense themes including gender, race, and consent. I don’t think any book has boggled my mind quite as much as this one did! I read the first book for class, but had to find the other two as soon as I finished reading!
What is your favorite book turned movie?
Ellie: One of my favorite series (I can’t choose just one book) turned movie is The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It’s a young adult dystopian science fiction series that follows a group of boys as they figure out how to escape the maze they have been trapped in as a sort of science experiment with little memory of a world before the maze. Of course the books are better, but I enjoy the artistic liberties that the movies take and seeing the dystopian setting brought to life.
Bree: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, is my favorite book turned movie. The stop motion animation is stunning. And while the book is a little different compared to the film adaptation, it was so well done (shoutout to Laika Studios), that I have no complaints. It’s a great book and a great movie. Can’t get better than that.
Campbell: The Color Purple. I read The Color Purple for the first time in high school and cried my eyes out at the end of almost every chapter. It wasn’t until much later I found out it had been adapted as a movie. It’s a brutal watch, so I recommend reading the book first so you know what you’re getting yourself into!!
What BBF panel or event are you the most excited about?
Ellie: I am the most excited to help present the One City One Story event this fall. Being a part of the process of helping to choose the story and eventually distribute it, I can’t wait to see how the rest of Boston will come together to react to and discuss its potent themes.
Bree: I truly am excited for everything we have in store for this year’s festival. I’ve been able to discover new and local authors across all genres and can’t wait to hear the discussions and panels we have lined up. The collaborative effort going into the new format has been a challenge, but also super rewarding. I can’t wait for everyone to see it come through fruition.
Campbell: I’m actually really excited about At Home Boston this year! I really like getting little windows into people’s lives during this time. It makes me feel closer to the city when we can’t be together in person.
What is your go-to book recommendation?
Ellie: For any science fiction/fantasy lovers, I highly recommend The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This medieval heroic fantasy is the first in an ongoing series, and it had me entranced in all its magic, adventure, sword fighting, and music.
Bree: My go-to book recommendation is Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. If you’re familiar with Trevor Noah as the host of The Daily Show, you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t know who Trevor Noah is, you’ll still enjoy this book. It’s both a heartbreaking and heartwarming memoir that’s bound to leave a lasting impression on your life. I suggest going for the audiobook, as Trevor’s narration takes the story to another level.
Campbell: I always find myself recommending Assata Shakur’s autobiography. This book really helped me understand and contextualize Black radicalism. Her story is so important to understand the legacy of racism in the United States. I also really loved her poetry that she inserted between chapters. The people “Story” at the end of the first chapter has been ringing in my ears ever since I first read it. You can read it for free online. Shakur wants everyone to read her story.
What 2020 book release are you most excited for?
Ellie: I’m most excited to read A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers. It is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with reincarnation, witches, and magic!
Bree: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. I read Twilight when I was thirteen, so I must honor that! But I’m also excited for Eat a Peach by David Chang. I love his Netflix shows Ugly Delicious and Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, so I look forward to learning more about his journey to becoming a chef.
Campbell: I’m most excited for Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse! I haven’t read any of her previous works, but I’m a big lover of sci-fi and fantasy and I keep seeing this title pop up. It’s inspired by Pre-Colombian American civilizations and beliefs and looks really exciting.