The Page Turner Elizabeth Fama
Photograph courtesy Elizabeth Fama

Booth by the Book: Elizabeth Fama

The author of young-adult novels Plus One, Monstrous Beauty, and Overboard, opens up about her reading life.

When Elizabeth Fama, AB ’85, MBA ’91, PhD ’96, isn't writing young adult fiction, she's researching 1500s Italy or multitasking by listening to audiobooks while getting a workout.

What are you reading?

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, for my young-adult book group. Florence in the Forgotten Centuries, by my late father-in-law and University of Chicago history professor, Eric W. Cochrane, as research for my current historical novel, set in Italy in the 1500s. Wolf Hall, to see how the heck [author] Hilary Mantel does it. I’m also reading a colleague's young-adult manuscript.

Who are your favorite authors?

In the young-adult category, I love less discovered authors like Margo Lanagan. Her Brides of Rollrock Island is a great introduction to YA literature for adults. Our own University of Chicago graduate Megan Whalen Turner, AB ’87, has a brilliant series called The Queen's Thief.

Who is your favorite literary hero?

She's everyone's favorite: Elizabeth Bennet. Smart, wryly cutting, irreverent, with fine eyes. I want to be her.

What is your favorite book?

Pass. Seriously, do people have favorite books?

What is your reading style: Hardcovers, softcovers, tablet, or smartphone?

Audiobooks! I'm an addict, and I wish everyone would discover them.

Where do you read?

While jogging. (See above.)

Reading: Pleasure or business?

Both. These are inseparable for me.

—By Eva Yusa