‘The Sense of Wonder’ author Matthew Salesses shares an unforgettable book

Matthew Salesses is the author of the just-published “The Sense of Wonder,” a novel about a Korean American basketball star, which was in part inspired by former Knicks player Jeremy Lin. Salesses spoke with Michael Schaub about the book, and here he answers questions about books and his reading life.

Q. How do you decide what to read next?

I keep an eye on forthcoming books. I like to know the conversation my peers and contemporaries are having, and I like to know what’s happening currently in literature from around the world.

Q. Do you remember the first book that made an impact on you?

I think it was probably “Happy Birthday, Moon,” by Frank Asch, in which a lonely little bear cub goes out into the mountains to meet the moon, on his birthday, and mistakes his echo for the moon talking to him, so that he thinks it is also the moon’s birthday.

Q. Can you recall a book that felt like it was written just for you (or conversely, one that most definitely wasn’t)?

Most of the books I’ve read were definitely not written for me. I grew up reading about White kids in the English countryside! It’s rare that a book feels like it was written just for me. Maybe the first one I can remember is some of the essays in “Outsiders Within,” edited by Jane Jeong Trenka, Sun Yung Shin, and Julia Chinyere Oparah.

Q. What’s something – a fact, a bit of dialogue or something else – that stayed with you from a recent reading?

The ending of “Earthlings,” by Sayaka Murata, I will never forget.

Q. Is there a genre or type of book you read the most – and what would you like to read more of?

I mostly read literary fiction. I would like to read more books about the intersection between psychoanalytic theory, climate change, and racism.

Q. Is there a person who made an impact on your reading life – a teacher, a parent, a librarian or someone else?

Both my parents were school librarians. In fourth grade, my teacher (whom I loved) said I didn’t write description well. I’m not sure why, but this stuck with me in ultimately a helpful way.

Q. If you could ask your readers something, what would it be?

Do you love me yet?

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