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English Major Enters 11th Month of Reading Same Paperback


Photo by pedrosimoes7 / CC BY 2.0

Today we sat down with self-proclaimed English major, Stephanie Lopez (C ’23).  

In June of 2020, Lopez started reading the critically acclaimed autofiction novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner. 

As of today, May 27th, 2021, Lopez is on page 140 out of 256. 

Lopez reported that she declared her majors in English (with a concentration in literary theory) and Economics, and a minor in Psychoanalytic Studies. 

Lopez described ordering the novel through Van Pelt library’s PickUp@Penn service last summer: “I started reading on the train back home. I got home and took a nap.”

When asked to describe the book to us, Lopez said: “It’s an autofiction, which means it has both autobiographical and fictional elements. So, it’s about this guy Adam who spent a summer in Madrid, or was it Barcelona… He’s a poet, Ben Lerner is also a poet. Hence, autofiction. Yeah, so he was in Spain writing poems. Ben Lerner also did that, apparently… Also, he and the character both went to Brown. Did I say the word autofiction yet?”

At this point, Lopez requested a nicotine break. 

As we resumed the interview, we pointed out the elephant in the room: “So Stephanie, why have you still not finished the book?”

“Look.” Lopez hovered her right hand to her nose and inhaled sharply (we were unsure why she did that). “Look. It’s been a tough year, alright? I’ve had my ups and downs. I don’t appreciate you coming into my house…”

“This is our office,” We interjected.

“… and interrogating me.”

“You requested this meeting.”

“Let’s talk about something else,” Stephanie said.

“Ok, well, what have you been up to?”

“Oh, you know, just like at home chilling.”

“What do you do like to do at home during your free time, Stephanie?

“… I like reading.”