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'Wild' Author Cheryl Strayed Confesses to Her Social Media Addiction

Twitter and Facebook function as water cooler for writers

Photo: Graeme Mitchell/Redux


Specs
Who
Age 46
Claim to fame Author of Wild (the film adaptation, starring Reese Witherspoon, is currently in theaters)
Base Portland, Ore.
Twitter @CherylStrayed

What’s the first information you consume in the morning? 
You mean after my children jump into my bed and tell me what they dreamed? Well, my homepage is set to The New York Times, so I’ll usually glance at what’s going on in the world.

Tell us about your social media habits. What are your go-to platforms?
I have to admit, my name is Cheryl, and I’m a social media junkie. I’ll look on Twitter, Facebook. I have Instagram, but I don’t hang out on Instagram.

Who do you follow?
It’s been fun following Reese [Witherspoon on Instagram] and interacting with her and seeing what she’s posting. There’s such an active literary orbit online. I feel like social media was made for writers because we don’t have that community, that kind of watercooler space and now it’s the Internet. You’re sitting in your own space and presumably writing the great American novel but actually posting links and chatting with your writer friends on Twitter and Facebook. I also love following Elissa Schappell on Facebook; she’s always writing things that are super relevant to me. We have a lot of similar political values and interests. On Twitter it’s more lit world like Roxane Gay and literary websites like The Millions, The Rumpus, Flavorwire, BuzzFeed Books.

What TV shows do you watch?
The big show in our family—I have kids who are 9 and 10—is Modern Family. It’s such a fun show. We also began watching The Amazing Race. My husband and I have been trying to go back and watch the shows we missed—we’ve watched The Wire, The Sopranos, that kind of thing. We did that with Breaking Bad, too. I can’t believe I’ll admit this, but when I walk on the treadmill, one of my rewards will be watching horrible, hideous reality television. I’ve just discovered the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

What’s on your reading list?
I’m a voracious magazine reader. I read The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic and also lots of feminist magazines like Ms. and Bitch as well as lit magazines like The Believer. I read a lot of books before they come out, so the ones I’ve been reading won’t be out until the spring. The best book that I’ve read lately that was published just a couple weeks ago is The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum. I loved Roxane Gay’s book, Bad Feminist.

Do you think that your book being chosen for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 helped it become such a success?
I think it helped. I don’t think it’s what made it that [successful] though. When Wild debuted [in March 2012], its first week out it was No. 7 on The New York Times best-seller list. Oprah made her announcement in June. What was so great is, before Oprah started her book club for Wild—which was one of the most thrilling things that has ever happened in my whole life—the book was already a big success. Obviously the film is giving it a boost now, too, but what sustains that boost is if people actually read the book and tell each other to go read it
.

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