Boston actress, scriptwriter, director, and producer Christy Scott Cashman has been on a tear since her new film “The Love Guide” starring her and Parker Posey premiered. In short order, she hopped from Los Angeles, to England, to Lake Como, Italy, where she hopes to finally sink into a book.
BOOKS: What books have you taken along on all your travels?
CASHMAN: I have Ha Jin’s “Nanjing Requiem” about what happens to a missionary during the Japanese invasion of China. It’s beautiful but not exactly vacation reading. For that I’m reading “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery to my boys, who are 11 and 9, because I think they could use a dose of books with a feminine sensibility. That’s one of a dozen books we’ve read over the past few years.
BOOKS: How often do you read to them?
CASHMAN: Almost everyday. Not too long ago we read “A Day No Pigs Would Die” by Robert Newton Peck, which is about a Shaker family. This 12-year-old boy is given a piglet. The bond between him and the pig is so sweet. Meanwhile you know his father’s a butcher. When we got near the end I was blubbering so much my older son said, “Mom, can you get dad to read the rest.”
BOOKS: Have you always been a devoted reader?
CASHMAN: No. I went through years when I didn’t read at all. But when I had kids, it reminded me of how much books had meant to me when I was growing up. I was actually named after a book: Catherine Marshall’s “Christy,” which my mother read when she was pregnant.
BOOKS: How do books play a role in your life now?
CASHMAN: I recently started this project for fun as part of my production company. It’s called Saint Aire Productions. We screen a film based on a book in my home. We’ve done three so far. Tom Perotta’s “Election,’’ Sue Miller’s “Inventing the Abbotts,” and Richard Russo’s “Nobody’s Fool.” People read the book, then see the film, and discuss the process with the author. I have to admit I liked all three books better than the films.
BOOKS: Are you a Richard Russo fan?
CASHMAN: He’s amazing. It’s such a visceral thing to read his books. I know everyone’s favorite is “Empire Falls” but I really enjoyed “Bridge of Sighs.”
BOOKS: Did you read anything as background for “The Love Guide”?
CASHMAN: I was mostly reading online about backyard chicken farming. I swear it is addictive. One time I had a chicken injured so badly I had to put her out of her misery. I didn’t want the animal to die in vain. So I went online to find out about how to butcher a chicken. I did my best. It was one tough bird.
BOOKS: Can you keep a novel going when filming?
CASHMAN: Sometimes it’s a nice diversion. You can get so focused on a project, it can almost be unhealthy. A book allows your mind to free up, which can give you new insights on your project. No matter what I’m working on, I find reading helps keeps the creative juices going.
BOOKS: What did you read for pleasure while working on “The Love Guide”?
CASHMAN: Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist,” and it took me forever, but I loved that book. It was so entirely different than what I was doing.
BOOKS: What are some of your other favorite novels?
CASHMAN: “The Noticer” by Andy Andrews, which I have optioned. It’s a self-help book, but it has an artful and creative approach to telling the story. I also loved “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. I read that just a couple of months ago. I tend to never read books when they are hot. I’m always a bit behind. But I’ll tell you what I’ll never ever read, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. I just don’t get it.