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15. What is one book you've been meaning to read?

Paul Harding's Tinkers, the novel that just won the Pulitzer Prize—a quiet book that chronicles the thoughts of an elderly man as he remembers his own remarkable father and considers his family's unusual talent and vocation for fixing what is broken.

16. What is your favorite film?

I think it's got to be The Philadelphia Story. I could watch that movie a hundred times and still fall in love anew with Kate Hepburn's coolness, Cary Grant's wry wit and James Stewart's teasing intelligence. Though the characters are idealized as 1940s movie characters are, they're also believably, gloriously imperfect. "After all," Hepburn's character (almost) says, "you'll never be, you can't be, a first-rate writer or a first-rate human being until you've learned to have some small regard for human frailty."

17. What would your theme song be?

"Nightswimming" by R.E.M. (See 19, below.)

18. What is your favorite food?

A cold, fresh, perfectly sweet mango. Or maybe the crisp, buttery croissants at Tartine in San Francisco.

19. What is your secret guilty pleasure?

Staying up very, very late. And skinny-dipping. And sleeping late.

20. How would you like to be remembered?

As a writer, a mother and a woman who knew how to laugh at herself.


Read O magazine's review of Julie Orringer's novel The Invisible Bridge

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