Exclusive: Best-Selling Debut Novelist Lauren Groff’s Favorite Read


When Stephen King compares your debut novel to the Harry Potter series in Entertainment Weekly, it’s almost like getting a free pass. Not like Lauren Groff, the talented young writer behind The Monsters of Templeton, needed one. Her juicy first novel — which is both a critical darling and a New York Times bestseller — explores a family’s dark secrets in a small town that’s plagued by a monster.

If you live in New York, head to McNally Jackson Bookstore for cocktails and a discussion with Groff tomorrow night courtesy of the Marie Claire Book Club. After the jump, read on to discover this young writer’s rather surprising favorite read.

Hint: It’s an oldie but a goodie that was published in 1667.

“It’s inexcusably geeky, I know, but this month we’re coming up on John Milton’s 400th birthday and I can’t resist some earnest hyperbole about the greatest epic poem in the English language: Paradise Lost. Yes, it’s esoteric as heck, but Milton also wrote the most seductive villain of all times in Satan and a titillating vision of Adam and Eve getting voluptuous in the garden, all in devastatingly musical and muscular language. While utterly blind. ‘The mind is its own place,’ he wrote, ‘And in it self / can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.’ Indeed.”

Look for her next release, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of nine short stories, early next year.