Tabs open on your screen right now:
My work computer just has boring work stuff (about a gazillion tabs of a NYT archive search of “Turkish military” + “secular” since 1990), but here is my phone:

Teeny Little Super Guy (YouTube clip from Sesame Street, about a tiny cartoon guy who lives in a (stop-motion, real) tumbler in a kitchen—I dreamed about this and had to make sure it was real)

Dostoevsky’s Idiot in Russian (I’m rereading it in English on Kindle but check in on Russian on phone)

A pot from the Indus Valley at the Met (I was walking around the UWS listening to a podcast that mentioned the Indus Valley and it said they had really sophisticated plumbing but no warfare, so maybe they were a utopia; so I was curious to see something that they made and went to the Met and had trouble finding anything, but then I looked on their website and managed to see this pot and a few other things)

Codependency page from Mental Health America (I realized I didn’t know the difference between codependency and dependency—like, isn’t it normal for two people to depend on each other. I was glad I looked it up, I didn’t know it was about substance abuse.)

Moroccan red lentil soup with lemon recipe

Slate review of Divorce on HBO (I was listening to SJP on the Marc Maron show talking about this HBO show and couldn’t imagine what it was like from how they were talking about it)

Your writer crush:
Renata Adler, Mary Karr

Favorite lyric:
“All I do is eat oysters, And speak six languages in three voices” (that is from Action Bronson)

I also really like “No one knows these things but him and me / So I’m writing everything down in a spiral notebook” (that is from a They Might Be Giants song I listened to constantly in college)

Best breakfast:
Turkish breakfast in a beautiful sunny courtyard or on a sunny roof

Early-morning hotel breakfast

Your rituals (writing or not):
I take naps.

Least impressive thing about you:
I take a LOT of naps.

Favorite space to write:
At home

Guilty literary pleasure:
I don’t believe in feeling guilty, at least not about stuff I read with pleasure.

Best book nobody talks about:
I feel like my generation (people born in the late 70s/ 80s) read and reread 100s of books as children that they never talk about, it’s like these hours of our lives never happened.

For me these include Father’s Arcane Daughter by E. L. Konigsberg and The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Dr. Watson

Last time you lied:
Me, lie?

Question you secretly want to be asked:
What kind of cookies shall I bring you today?

The answer:
Oh, you’re so kind! What about marzipan cookies with pine nuts?


ELIF BATUMAN‘s first novel, The Idiot, is forthcoming in March 2017 with Penguin Press. She is also the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. She has been writing for the New Yorker since 2006.

Photo taken by Lindsay Nordell.