Episode 10: Dana Schwartz

Books Mentioned on The Spine

  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowery
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O'Connell
  • Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer
  • French Exit by Patrick deWitt
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Hamlet by Shakespear
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Adam Bede by George Elliot
  • Middlemarch by George Elliot
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Eilene by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Major American Short Stories
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Writers Mentioned

  • Sharon Creech
  • John Cheever
  • Shirley Jackson

Memorable Quotes

  • “...I’m realizing in retrospect, a lot of my childhood was delinquent reading.”
  • “I was horrified of the cover [of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark] but I loved the stories, so I taped a piece of paper over the cover to continue reading it.”
  • “[The Giver by Lois Lowery] defined the dystopian young adult genre for me. And as I grew up I’ve made plenty of jokes about the dystopian genre, but I think ‘The Giver’ is really the ur-text when it comes to that.”
  • “I was a very conformist child, so to me, there was something very about 'The Giver’ word where people’s roles are prescribed and there’s a fool-proof system where you marry the person, you have the right career… [T]he fact that society, as it was described in the book, was very soothing to me as a child.”
  • “I was such a massive reader when I was young, and it’s the books that I read as a child that stuck with me and went on to influence me the most.”
  • “In seventh grade, I was assigned what then became, I think, my favorite book, and maybe the book I say most often when people ask about my favorite book, which is ’The Martian Chronicles’ by Ray Bradbury. It was the first book that hit me the same way ‘Ender’s Game’ did.”
  • “I like books that are sad and optimistic at the same time.”
  • “I kind of like the artificial loneliness, like melancholy, that comes from a book that can put you there. And I think that books that take place in slightly off or strange worlds make me feel lonelier in a good way.”
  • “I read to feel things stronger than I can feel in my daily life. ...I know it’s a good book when I end it and I have that wonderful tension throughout my body.”
  • “Books, I’m realizing now, are the equivalent of me scrolling through the Instagram of the girlfriend of a guy I have a crush on. It’s like, I read books to make myself sad on purpose."
  • About buying used books: “I like when things are underlined, especially things that I never would have underlined. I kind of like that even more.”
  • “Whenever I have a book due, I read a lot more to either psych myself up or just completely beat myself down, thinking, ‘You’ll never be as good as these people!’ …I just try to fill my brain with as many good sentences as possible.”
Dana Schwartz