I’ve been quizzing my daughter’s friends about what they read. My daughter is 17 years old. I am an old man who should not be allowed to ask children questions.
Leaves of Grass.
The Scarlet Letter?
Really? Huckleberry Finn? You’ve read that right?
No. What’s that?
It was written by Mark Twain. You’ve read something by Mark Twain? “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County?”
Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sylvia Plath, Ann Carson, William Burroughs, Margaret Atwood?
Those are authors, right?
What have you read? Do you read books in school?
We read books. The Kite Runner. My class read that.
You haven’t read Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, or 1984?
Dead white men.
You haven’t read The Moons of Jupiter or Beloved?
What are those?
Books from Nobel Prize-winning female authors from North America, who are still alive.
I hear you have written some books. Have you written anything that I’ve seen?
Seen, like in a bookstore?
I like Stranger Things. I love the 80s.
When were you born?
And you like the 1980s?
Everything seemed so much freer then. You could do anything you wanted to do.