News and Interviews

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Soraya Roberts

ECW Press' Pop Classics series is a quirky pop culture-obsessed line of short and sweet books that offer cultural commentary that is equally parts witty and insightful. Delving into film, television, actors, musicians, and much more, if it's got a cult following or an unexplained fascination, it fits into Pop Classics.

The latest instalment might be the one to hit hardest for children of the '90s: Soraya Roberts's In My Humble Opinion: My So-Called Life. Unpacking the appealing of the one-season-wonder, In My Humble Opionion goes in depth on the series, which groundbreaking in its gritty attention to a teen girl's quest for identity, laying the groundwork for later series like Veronica Mars, Freaks & Geeks, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Soraya joins us today to talk about the best-loved and most influential books in her life as part of our WAR Series: Writers As Readers questionnaire. She tells us about the book that made her laugh out loud, the French novelist who shaped her writing, and a very related potential title for her autobiography.

The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.

A book that made me cry:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

The first adult book I read:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

A book that made me laugh out loud:

Lifespan of a Fact by John D'Agata and Jim Fingal.

The book I have re-read many times:

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:

The Lover by Marguerite Duras.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:

The Lover by Marguerite Duras, because of her subtle manipulation of pronouns and her ability to distill complex thoughts and ideas into simple lyricism.

The best book I read in the past six months:

Where Art Belongs by Chris Kraus.

The book I plan on reading next:

Brand New Ancients by Kate Tempest.

A possible title for my autobiography:


Soraya Roberts still feels like a teenager even though she’s, like, old. She worked as an entertainment editor from 2005 to 2011 and is now a full-time writer. She has contributed long-form culture articles to Hazlitt, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She also appears in the anthology Secret Loves of Geek Girls (Bedside Press, 2015) and is currently working on a memoir about journalism. She lives in Toronto.