What Tom Perrotta Watches, Listens To, and Thinks About When He’s Not Writing Bestselling Fiction

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Tom Perrotta caught the attention of readers everywhere with his novels Little Children and Election, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films. He was already a household/bookstore name by the time he wrote The Leftovers, which was adapted into a Peabody Award-winning HBO series. Some Perrotta readers swear their favorite of his novels is Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Joe College, The Abstinence Teacher, or Nine Inches. The point is: lots of people have been eagerly awaiting today’s publication of his latest novel, Mrs. Fletcher, and for good reason.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 7.42.52 PMIn many ways, this new book is about people in transition: a mother with a newly empty nest, a son going off to college, both having their eyes opened to the myriad ways people misread each other — both in person and online. As is his specialty, Perrotta locates the universally human moments in absurd situations; your heart aches for these characters in the same scenes where you laugh out loud at them. Maria Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette; Today Will Be Different) describes it as “all you dream it will be: hilarious, provocative (a little too), relatable, and every moment a joyride.”

Perrotta will join us here at Parnassus Books on Wednesday, August 9, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the book. Meanwhile, he took our Authors in Real Life quiz. Here’s what he’s up to when he’s not writing:


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Tom Perrotta’s talents also include matching his hair to his shirt. (The author pictured in 1974.)

I’ve been listening to:
Big Bad Luv by John Moreland
Mental Illness by Aimee Mann
We All Want the Same Things by Craig Finn

I love to watch:
The Americans

Something I saw online that made me laugh, cry, or think:
This thoughtful essay by Rebecca Solnit on feminist lit and pornography

Best meal I’ve had in the past month:
A Sicilian pizza from Armando’s in Cambridge, MA

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The multi-talented Donald Glover

A creator who’s doing something I envy:
Donald Glover (I envy his ability to move between writing, acting, comedy, and music) and Sufjan Stevens (a wonderfully prolific songwriter who made Carrie and Lowell, my favorite album in recent memory)

Books I recently recommended to someone else:
Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein
Unwanted Advances by Laura Kipnis

The last event I bought tickets to was:
A Doll’s House Part 2 on Broadway

Most meaningful recent travel destination:
The Great Barrier Reef

I wish I knew more about:

My favorite thing about bookstores:
The surprises

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