Shelved: Laura Warrell is a "One-Book-At-A-Time-Gal"


Today, we’re introducing Shelved. This new series seeks to connect our Penguin Random House authors with their biggest fans: you! We’re asking our authors for snapshots of their bookshelves, and we have a few questions about their reading habits.

For our inaugural article, we’re bringing you Laura Warrell, author of debut novel, SWEET, SOFT, PLENTY RHYTYM (Pantheon).

Favorite reading spot?

There’s a spot on the sofa in my new apartment that is slowly becoming my favorite spot to read. It sits between my two bookshelves; I have my grandmother’s piano at my back and the patio door in front of me so I can look out at the sky whenever I look up from the pages. So peaceful. However, I’m also pretty basic and love reading in bed. After a long day, there’s nothing like snuggling under the blankets with a good book. 

Do you read one book at a time or are there too many to keep track of? 

I’m a one-book-at-a-time gal, in part, because I can get easily scattered if I’m not careful and never finish anything. More importantly though, I like to get lost in the world of a book and really engage deeply with the characters. It’s like going to a party; sure, I could try to meet as many people as possible or I could find someone I connect with in the most thrilling way and spend the evening talking to that person. I prefer the latter. There’s nothing better than walking through your day, wondering what to do next then remembering you have a great book waiting for you at home.  

What’s the bookstore from your childhood? 

I grew up in Ohio where most of the bookstores were chains so none necessarily stick out in my mind. The first bookstore I fell in love with was actually in Canada in a small town where my great grandfather built a cottage for generations of his family to visit. We went most summers and there was this small, nondescript bookstore on the main drag. This was a tiny town – very few visitors at the time – so these little stores were always run by locals and had unique items. I looked forward to going into it every time I visited because there’d be all kinds of books for kids – coloring books, picture books, pencils and pens, different styles of papers. This was a place for budding writers even if we didn’t know it yet. I wish I could remember the name.    

If you could send one book to every person in the USA, what would it be? 

My first thought is any book from Toni Morrison, but I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of her. She was the best. Instead, I’ll say TOMORROW IN THE BATTLE THINK ON ME, which is a novel by the great Spanish author Javier Marias who died recently. He was a master, able to incorporate impeccable storytelling with philosophical exploration and sensual prose. In Europe and throughout the world, he was considered one of the greatest, often talked about as a shoo-in for the Nobel Prize. He never made as much of a name for himself stateside, so I’d love to share my favorite of his novels, about a man whose desire to begin an affair with a woman is thwarted after she dies in his arms. Brilliant. 


Posted: September 28, 2022