By the Book Interview

By The Book Cover MY

Here is a book I loved with a subtitle that I hate: “Writers on Literature and the Literary Life.” That sounds boring. It’s not even about that. But what it actually is, writers and famous people telling The New York Times Book Review about what books they’re reading, all time faves, and childhood reading habits, was fascinating. In fact, I was inspired to use their list of questions to complete my own By the Book Interview. Here it is.

What book is on your night stand now?

Tenth of December by George Saunders, because about ten different writers in By The Book all recommended it. This is my first by this author but it won’t be my last. It’s wonderfully weird stuff.

What was the last truly great book you read?

I guess that The Road by Cormac McCarthy comes to mind. Truly brilliant. But I also loved The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extance.

What’s your favorite Shakespeare?

Taming of the Shrew has always been a favorite. I read it in Shakespeare class in University and have seen about four or five different versions performed and I love the way the entire meaning of the closing scene can be changed by the use of tone, facial expression, and timing. Very subtle stuff.

What were your most cherished books as a child?

There were so many. The Great Brain, Encyclopedia Brown, Judy Blume, Chronicles of Prydain, Lord of the Rings, Asterix and Obelix, Tintin, and many more. Loved them all.

Which of your own books is your favorite?

My latest one. The Launch gives good story but also brings the funny. I love the main character so hard. He’s a rascal.

What are your reading habits? Paper or Electronic?

Do I have to choose one? Can I add a third? Maybe Audiobooks first and foremost, then paper, and lastly e-books. I love my e-reader for traveling because I can carry as many books as I want and it weighs almost nothing. Paper reading for when I’m at home and audio books in the car for all the driving I do as part of my job. Makes the hours pass in no time at all. Plus I love the performance part of it when a great actor does different voices. Harry Bosch FTW! Also Precious Ramotswe! Hope I spelled that correctly.

Read any good graphic novels lately?

How long do you have? The best ones I’ve read this year (so far) are Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine, The Property by Rutu Modan, and SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki. This also gives a global perspective, as there is one American, one Israeli, and one Canadian artist.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?

Neil Gaiman seems like a genuinely nice bloke with whom you’d love to have a cup of tea and a chat.

What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t?

I’d rather not say. You know how sensitive writers can be.

What do you plan to read next?

I’ve got a couple on my list from reading By the Book, so maybe one of those? But more likely a graphic novel or two. It’s not only a time management thing but also a great love for the medium.