First, the good news: I have a Romanian publisher. RAO is taking Graceling on, and I’m thrilled. I know nothing about the Romanian language, but doesn’t it look beautiful? Now I want to learn more. If you know anything, feel free to educate me.
So, I’ve been thinking about favorites. People always like to ask for your favorites — what’s your favorite band, your favorite writer, etc., etc. — but sometimes I feel like no one ever asks for the right favorites. I can’t name a favorite band, so when people ask, I mumble incoherently and probably sound like a musical ignoramus. But, I can name my favorite anthropomorphized vegetable. How come no one ever asks me for my favorite anthropomorphized vegetable? Come on, people! Get with the program!
Anyway, I thought I’d list some of my favorite favorites, mostly ones that no one ever asks. (Because really, why would they?)
For example, when you get really wonderful, spectacular news, what’s your favorite thing to do? Mine is to call my parents and tell them. Do you have a favorite muppet? Mine is Grover. Do you have a favorite name? Mine is Jacob.
My favorite part of flying is takeoff, unless I’m in a little plane, and then I like the dipping and veering. My favorite time to be in New York City is right before Christmas, when everything’s decorated with lights.
My favorite thing to bake is bread. My favorite thing to do on Sunday is listen to NPR all day long. My favorite time to go for a walk is sunset.
My favorite day to spend at the beach is a clear day in the 50s so I can bundle up in hat and scarf and drink a thermos of tea. Plus, the dolphins come out on the cold days. My favorite sight at the beach is dolphins.

Sometimes I paint, very badly, and when I do, my favorite thing to paint is anthropomorphized asparagus (making asparagus my favorite anthropomorphized vegetable!). If you don’t believe me (and if you don’t believe I paint badly), here’s my atmospheric, Western piece, “Armed Asparagus” on the left…
…and my grueling representation of an asparagus in the Tour de France on the right. I’ve also done a circus asparagus, a gymnast asparagus, an asparagus in formal wear, and an unclothed asparagus reclining on a divan between busts of Shakespeare and Beethoven (I call that one “Reclining Nude”). I do paint broccoli, corn, onions, leeks, etc., too, but I tell you, nothing inspires like asparagus.
Hmm. I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic trying to type while surrounded by asparagi. They do tend to be very tall paintings….
Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale is my favorite beer. Cordelia brought me a sixpack last week when the ceiling collapsed. Cordelia always knows, even better than I do, when I need a specialty beer (or six).
My favorite tree is this enormous live oak in the gardens of the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville. Its trunk splits off in six directions and the branches touch the ground and then rise up again, almost like whole new trees. It’s big and old and it’s one of my soulmates.
At the moment, Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett is my favorite book. It’s simple and beautiful and profound, and it only has 31 words, so check it out if you get a chance.
My favorite place in Rome is the Pantheon. It makes me feel the same way the oak tree and the Gravett book make me feel: at peace.
Finally: My sisters are my favorite. And so is solitude.
Will you tell me some of your favorite favorites?