Today we're hanging out with Mira Jacob, the author of The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing. When Nazihah reviewed this book a few weeks ago, she paired it with Indian-style mac and cheese to reflect the book's cultural fusions. It's not just Mira's characters who blend cultures; she herself has taught in New York, New Mexico and Barcelona. At home in Brooklyn, she co-founded the Pete's Reading Series, a ten-year-old bimonthly series that's featured the likes of Nell Freudenberger and Colum McCann. Plus, Mira used to write for VH-1's Pop-Up Video. What?! So much fun.
Read on to get to know Mira!
What is your all-time favorite book, and why?
No such thing, my favorite depends on my mood. Lately, I've been really feeling Jeffrey Eugenidies' The Virgin Suicides.
What meal do you love to cook, and why?
Dinner. Because I will get to see everyone's faces as they eat it.
What is your favorite food scene from a book, and why?
Like many Indian children, I had stacks of Enid Blyton books pressed upon me at a young age. "The picnics!" My mother would say, if my attention flagged. "You must read about the picnics!" And weirdly, she was right. The picnics were filled with an array of things no Indian, much less Indian-by-way-of-New-Mexico would eat, and they sounded so exotic. Honeycomb! Tongue sandwiches! Other things I am forgetting because I've never once eaten them in my life!
Coffee or tea?
I started drinking coffee about a year ago and I'm like a weird teenage boy who has just started drinking alcohol. I don't know my limits, I do it just because I can, I regularly suffer the consequences.
What is the last book you abandoned, and why?
I've read the starts of at least 30 books in the last year and could not finish because I was too self-involved. (My own book, which I had worked on for 10 years, came out and I was too nervous to read other good books, as sad as that is to admit.) Have luckily managed to pull my head out of my ass and am currently enjoying Ted Thompson's The Land of Steady Habits.
Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?
Sherman Alexie, green chile cheeseburgers
Where do you go to find new recipes?
Where do you go to find new reads?
Book Court in Brooklyn. Or the subway. I love seeing what other people are reading on the subway.
Tell us about your writing — the inspiration for it, why you write, and your favorite aspects.
I write fiction because I love the feeling of being inside an invented world, of being both part of what I see and outside it. It's the best parts of a waking dream.
What are your favorite blogs, and why?
I love Now This News showing up in my Instagram because I will often miss good stories and they don't.
Maris Kriezman's Slaughterhouse 90210 combines highbrow and lowbrow in the best way humanly possible. I remember the first post I saw and I thought, "Okay, that's it, we're done now. Pinnacle reached."
Though now defunct, ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS used to function as my daily horoscope.
When I feel funny about my profession, I like reading posts from Dani Shapiro, Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay and Ted Thompson because they are all very good at being honest and thoughtful and professional, which is a damn tricky balance.