I was a judge for this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, so until very recently I was reading essays written by clever high school students. Now I’ve started Shalom Auslander’s “Hope: A Tragedy.” His last book, “Foreskin’s Lament,” really made me laugh.
When and where do you like to read?
Throughout my 20s and early 30s — my two-books-per-week years — I did most of my reading at the International House of Pancakes. I haven’t been to one in ages, but at the time, if you went at an off-peak hour, they’d give you a gallon-sized pot of coffee and let you sit there as long as you liked. Now, though, with everyone hollering into their cellphones, it’s much harder to read in public, so I tend to do it at home, most often while reclining.
What was the last truly great book you read?
I’ve read a lot of books that I loved recently. “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea,” by a woman named Barbara Demick, was a real eye-opener. In terms of “great,” as in “This person seems to have reinvented the English language,” I’d say Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.” What an exciting story collection it is, unlike anything I’ve ever come across.
Do you consider yourself a fiction or a nonfiction person? What’s your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?
I like nonfiction books about people with wretched lives. The worse off the subjects, the more inclined I am to read about them… Complete article here…