Between now and Christmas, Amy Tan is traveling across country on one of those famously grueling book tours. We hooked up with her by e-mail, wondering what she was reading while on the road.
"My reading preferences are dictated by what's easy to carry, what I've been dying to read, and what will lull me to sleep at night.
"For the latter, I have a book on the Tellington-Touch, a
method for massaging your dog. This method, I'm led to believe, will induce him to stop shitting on my carpet, remain quiet when repair people arrive, and so on. Whatever, he sure seems to like it.
"More seriously, I have been reading Kaye Gibbon's newest, Sights Unseen, a galley copy of Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother, and Eyes, Breath and Memory and Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat.
"Sometimes I read airline shopping catalogs, debating for
hours over items I desire and want to impulsively order so that they will be waiting for me like a prize at baggage claim. I once ordered a battery-operated karaoke amplifier this way and, boy, was I sorry later. You get crazy on airplanes -- breathing half your normal levels of oxygen and all those recirculated sneezes."