The New York Times

By the Book: Celeste Ng

THE AUTHOR OF, MOST RECENTLY, ‘LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE,’ OFTEN RETURNS TO ‘THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO’: ‘RIGHT NOW, I SEE IT AS AN EXPLORATION OF THE COMPLEXITIES OF GOOD AND EVIL AND HOW EASILY ONE SHIFTS INTO THE OTHER.’

Q: What books are currently on your nightstand?

A: At the moment I type this: “Lincoln in the Bardo,” by George Saunders; “The Essex Serpent,” by Sarah Perry; “Marlena,” by Julie Buntin. I have a bad habit of reading more than one book simultaneously! Two books of folktales I saved from childhood (the Illustrated Junior Library edition of Grimms’ Fairy Tales and “Favourite Folktales of China,” translated by John Minford), because my son has been asking me to tell him stories at bedtime, and I needed to brush up. Oh, and the 1974 “Dreamer’s Dictionary,” by Stearn Robinson and Tom Corbett, because the odd specificity of the dreams listed are good sparks for stories, and because it’s fun.

Q: What’s the last great book you read?

A: I keep finding new great books, but since you asked for the last one: “The Tsar of Love and Techno,” by Anthony Marra. They’re interconnected stories about the Chechen-Russian wars, but really they’re about all the ways we try

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