Mina Seçkin on Ferrante, Nabokov, and The Phantom Tollbooth
Rapid-fire book recs from the author of The Four Humors
Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to the author of The Four Humors, Mina Seçkin.
Book Marks: A book that blew your mind?
Mina Seçkin: How Much These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang and The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, which retells the events of Camus’ The Stranger from the perspective of the murdered, nameless “Arab” (or rather, his brother Harun’s perspective). Also The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller and The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Oh! One more… We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo.
BM: A book that made you cry?
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
BM: What’s one book you wish you had read during your teenage years?
MS: The Idiot by Elif Batuman.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
MS: Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely.
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
MS: Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. When I first read the last 100 or so pages of Crime and Punishment in college, I was at a coffee shop and tears were streaming down my face the whole time. Maybe I’m procrastinating on experiencing a similar feeling—or maybe I know I’ll never feel that way again!
BM: What’s a book with a really great sex scene?
MS: Susan Choi’s My Education—the writing is alive and unbidden. The sex in this novel is not exactly sexy, but it captures the visceral, obsessive, and subversive elements of desire very well—and with humor, too.
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
BM: Favorite book of the 21st century?
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
MS: Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
BM: Favorite children’s book?
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
Mina Seçkin is a writer from Brooklyn. Her work has been published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She serves as managing editor of Apogee Journal, and The Four Humors is her first novel.
Mina Seçkin’s The Four Humors is out now from Catapult