AK: Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America is one of the most famous contemporary works about how difficult it can be for women to survive in America. It’s nonfiction of course, but I’m wondering if you have any favorite, or even inspiring, books from the genre (fiction or nonfiction not only about struggling in the “greatest country on earth” but also struggling from a woman’s perspective)?
NP: I read Ehrenreich's book as about the working class, and not just about women's survival. But in answer to your question - sort of - one of my favorite books of all times is A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. Her story is about one woman's survival from homelessness to becoming a lawyer. It's a great read. I don't think this answer is really to the point of your question (I'm having trouble thinking of books specific to that) but it's a chance to plug Cupcake Brown's book. Really - read it. So many of the memoirs I've read had to do with dysfunctional families and sexual abuse rather than with society as a whole.
AK: Is Virginia Woolf’s classic, A Room of One’s Own important to you? Are there other classics with similar themes that you see as influences?
NP: I certainly played off of the title A Room of One's Own - A Broom of One's Own. I think that women have more trouble finding time, quiet, physical space, and psychic space for writing, but I think we all need it. In my own life I have, as I've grown older, found it easier to get this for myself, probably because I recognize the importance of it more now than I did when I was younger, and because I am more willing to take it without apology.