The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing (i.e., nosy) questions. In the hot seat today: Karina Yan Glaser, author of the MG debut, THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141st STREET (HMH).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A quiet afternoon hanging out in beautiful nature. (With a book and chocolate, of course!)
What is your greatest fear? Getting in a car accident.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I don’t speak up for myself or others the way I should.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Lack of sensitivity and empathy.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama.
What is your greatest extravagance? Good chocolate.
What is your current state of mind? Peaceful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? This question gave me a lot of trouble. I even googled “Virtue List” and examined a list of seventy “virtues”, and I couldn’t pick out one that was overrated. I’m not sure what that says about me!
On what occasion do you lie? When my kids ask me if we have any dessert, sometimes I say no because I don’t want to share my chocolate stash with them.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Like” and “totally”. (I grew up in Los Angeles.)
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be a great swimmer.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My children.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A bird living in Acadia National Park. Imagine the aeriel views!
What is your most treasured possession? The necklace I wear everyday. I’ve worn it since I was a little girl.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Having nothing to do. (Spoiler alert: I’m a workaholic!)
What do you most value in your friends? Compassion, empathy, strength.
Who are your favorite writers? So many! Katherine Paterson, Jason Reynolds, Ashley Bryan, Grace Lin, Linda Sue Park, Louise Erdrich, Jack Cheng, Gary Schmidt, Cynthia Voigt, Elizabeth Enright, Richard Peck, Janice Nimura, Holly M. McGhee, Jacqueline Woodson, Joyce Sidman, Sydney Taylor, Eleanor Estes, Laurie Halse Anderson, Melissa Sweet, Jacqueline Kelly, Kelly Barnhill, Ada Calhoun, Ruta Sepetys, Jeanne Birdsall.
Who is your hero of fiction? Matilda!
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Eleanor Roosevelt.
What is your motto? I don’t know if it’s a motto, but something like, “Be kind” or “Make the world more beautiful” might fit the bill.