Brian Phillips Recommends...

“A cool thing about me that not a lot of people know, even though I talk about it almost daily, is that Hilary Mantel is my spirit twin. Consider the evidence: not only are we both writers, not only are we both masters of historical fiction (at least I assume I would be, if I’d ever written any), we also both like to take showers when we’re stuck in our writing. She’s written that this habit has made her the cleanest person she knows. I’m not sure that’s true in my case, but I do find that the shower, with its loud softness, its brain-unclenching heat, and its general vibe of low-key transfiguration, is an excellent place to work through snags in my sentences. It’s physical white noise! While struggling through some of the tougher essays in Impossible Owls, I came to the conclusion that the shower itself is like an ideal reading experience. You go in as one thing, and you come out as something newer and better—plus you smell good, which is not an improvement I’ve ever undergone while reading Dostoevsky.”
—Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls (FSG Originals, 2018)