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Interview

Lucy Knisley p2

Lucy Knisley mentions many of her favorite novels, including young adult titles, and comics artists…

READERSVOICE.COM: In one interview you said you read more prose than comics these days. What are some of the books you have really liked over the years, fiction or non-fiction, young adult or not?

LUCY KNISLEY: I read a lot of young adult books. A friend of mine from high school with similar reading tastes owns and manages a little bookshop in my hometown, and I visit every couple of months and she loads me down with a nice stack of recommendations. She makes me feel like such a trendspotter– I read The Hunger Games ages ago, on her recommendation. More recently, I really loved The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, and Wildwood, by Colin Meloy (though neither of those are really lesser known).
My dad also manages a little bookshop in Chelsea, where a lot of lovely authors and artists come to premiere their books, so I get some nice picks from that. I recently loved Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies, Maira Kalman’s Why We Broke Up, and The Lover’s Dictionary, by David Levithan.
I read and love anything that Margaret Atwood comes out with, though Oryx and Crake is my favorite. I’m a sucker for dystopian first-person narratives. I loved The Book Thief, by Marcus Suzak, and adore-adore-adore the Revolting Youth series, by C.D. Payne. A lot of my favorite books are first-person-narrated. It’s a style I’ve always been comfortable reading and I’m sure it has a bit to do with how I got into writing autobio.

RV: You used to read Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore when it was running, but what other comics and mini-comics do you have in your collection?

LK: It’s tough to keep my collection manageable in a tiny New York apartment. I’m always picking up stuff at conventions or from comic artist friends. My shelves are heavily representative of Alison Bechdel, a lot of David B, Lynda Barry, Hope Larson, Joann Sfar, Kate Williamson, and Marjane Satrapi. It’s hard to really get into a series the way I used to in high school, when I got into SIP, because I’m so eager to read the books that my friends and colleagues put out, so I tend to really only read work that I pick up at shows these days.

RV: The 24-hour comics, which you have done, seem like a pretty gruelling process. How much time would you spend each hour writing about that hour?

LK: I try to limit myself to 15 minutes per panel. Sometimes I’ll do the sketch early in the hour and then come back to finish it towards the end of the hour. I try to make sure I don’t have a deadline crunch on HCD, or many plans (though I like to have SOMETHING, so my life doesn’t seem totally blank), so I can dedicate the day to concentrating on the comic. I love Hourly Comic Day; I consider it to be like a comics meditation– something that makes me really examine what I do and how I structure my life around it. I used to do 24-Hour Comic Day, too (when you stay up for 24 hours to make a 24 page comic), and I really liked it, but the toll it took on my body for the rest of the week was too much. Hourly Comic Day doesn’t seem grueling to me– I get to go to sleep whenever I want to!

RV: Do you have a particular routine in New York and what parts of New York do you spend most time in?

LK: I work from home, so I tend to stick around my neighborhood (The West Village). I go to Brooklyn quite a lot, as most of my friends live over there, but I love the West Village, as impractical and expensive as it is. There are so many great places to find cool, cheap food. Moving to New York has seriously derailed my love of cooking. Why cook when I can go get a kati roll, or visit the place that does amazing noodles? I haven’t been home much this summer, as I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a lot of travel work, so I’ve been going on quite a few working trips. My routine is all up in the air now, but that’s sort-of par for the course since I moved here. New York offers a lot of opportunities to do new things, and I try to take advantage of as many as I can.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.