To celebrate the holidays we asked some of our favorite people in publishing what their favorite book was. Let us know in the comments what your favorite book is and be sure to check back throughout the week for more “favorites”.
Noa Wheeler is an assistant editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.
I have never finished reading my favorite book. This may sound incongruous, but the truth is that any time I “finish” Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Words, I simply start it again. For many years, I have always been somewhere in the process of reading this quietly brilliant book. Sartre’s memoir is one of paradox: a dreamer’s stream of consciousness with an underlying strength, a distant narrative voice which ultimately paints an intimate self-portrait.
Sartre takes his experiences as a reader and a writer and dissects them—then he carefully lays out all the pieces, analyzes them, rearranges them, and creates something new. What does it mean to be a reader? A writer? A student? A dreamer? What does it mean to be a child or adult? Or all of these things at once? These are questions I continue to ask myself. I owe it in part to Sartre that I never come up with the same answer twice.