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Books by my bedside: Brit Bennett

Books by my bedside: Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett is causing a literary sensation with her debut novel, The Mothers, a wise and heartbreaking exploration of friendship, desire, secrets and gossip. Here she shares the books in her life right now.

What’s currently on your bedside table?

sobbing school

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett, a poet I’ve been following for a while—I’m excited to check out his debut collection.

I’ve heard great things online about The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang, so looking forward to that one. And recently received a galley of Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, a young writer I’m excited about.


Which book would you recommend?

I’ve been aggressively recommending The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead ever since I read an advanced copy last spring. It's the best novel of the year, in my opinion.

My go-to recommendation is Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Every single person I’ve recommended this book to has loved it.


Which book are you taking on your next journey?

I’m heading out on my book tour soon, which will mean plenty of aeroplane reading. So far, I’m looking forward to diving into LaRose by Louise Erdrich, Elsewhere, California by Dana Johnson and Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens.

A respected writer friend called LaRose the best book he’d read all year, so I have to check it out (I also loved Love Medicine). I’ve only heard great things about Elsewhere, California and I’ve been meaning to check it out for a while. And Eleven Hours sounds brutal and fascinating, so it’s been on my list for a bit too.


Tell us about your book

The Mothers

The Mothers, my first novel, is about a girl who, mourning her mother’s recent death, falls for the pastor’s son and ends up pregnant.

She decides not to keep the baby, and the novel follows the ripples that choice makes throughout her life as she grows up. 


Do you discuss your work-in-progress with anyone?

I try not to, partly out of a desire to protect the idea while it's still forming, and partly because I’m still figuring out what it is myself.


Which book made you want to write?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. A teacher gave that book to me when I was in elementary school and I read it over and over again.

I was also inspired by the fact that S.E. Hinton wrote the novel when she was a teenager so I challenged myself to see if I could write a novel when I was in high school.


If you weren’t writing you’d be...?

I think I would be a lawyer. I never thought that writing was a realistic career path, so for years, I always figured I would go to law school.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett is published by Penguin Random House


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Feature image via Vogue