What piece of art changed your life? And how did it affect you?
I first tried to read the book Lolita when I was twelve, but only because I had a sense that it was obscene. (I believe my father might have read Ulysses for the same reason, when he was about the same age.) I didn't understand it at all. So I kept re-reading it. Perhaps I would have fallen in love with any book I re-read obsessively as a teenager, but I still re-read Lolita, about every two years or so. When asked my favorite novel, I never have to think twice.
I was always inclined toward repetition, but I think that early experience with Lolita showed me that some works of art are worth revisiting, again and again and again. I always find something new in the book. And, as a writer, I think that's a goal toward which to shoot, although I concede that it will probably prove elusive for me: Write something worth re-reading.
Laura Lippman reads from Hardly Knew Her, a new book of short stories, this Friday (Oct. 10) at Noon, at Barnes & Noble in Charles Village.