What author do you own the most books by?
It’s a tie between Anne Rice and Janet Evanovich. There are two writers who, if they were more prolific, would take up the most space on my shelves: Larry McMurtry and Tom Robbins.
What book do you own the most copies of?
I have two copies each of several books. I don’t think I have three or more of anything except Hamlet.
Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
As a matter of fact, yes.
What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
(That’s another question that ends with a preposition. Just sayin’.) He’s in a book that hasn’t been published, so his name would mean nothing to you.
What book have you read the most times in your life?
Yikes. Either Gone With The Wind, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Sun Also Rises, or something by Mary Stewart or Elswyth Thane.
What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
I’ll never say.
What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Audacity of Truth. It felt like someone in a position to change things actually thought a lot like me.
If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I’d need to be reading more literary fiction to answer that question. Right now, I’m all about reading for escape or entertainment.
What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
One of my own, of course. With a big fat option check for me.
What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Anything with a serial killer in it.
Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Just last night, my dream was a version of Heart of Darkness with Robert Pattinson (no, I haven’t seen Twilight) playing the part of a wealthy young man who gets buried alive in some South American ruins.
What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Undoubtedly a tell-all about some celebrity.
What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Any novel by Faulkner.
What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
I’ve never seen an obscure Shakespearean play. Or maybe I didn’t realize it was obscure.
Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russians. (Er, we are talking about novels, right?)
Roth or Updike?
I like both, but give Updike the edge.
David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Haven’t read either. (Yes, I heard that collective gasp from certain readers of this journal.)
Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Austen or Eliot?
What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Moby Dick, which I’ve started and enjoyed a number of times but have somehow never finished.
What is your favorite novel?
To Kill a Mockingbird, although A Confederacy of Dunces often shoves its way into sharing that position.
Both Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika–to read and to see.
Robert Frost’s “Birches” and Langston Hughes’ “Poem” are tied.
James Michener’s “On Wasting Time.”
Possibly James Thurber’s “Sitting in the Catbird Seat,” although there’s a story, “The Absolute Worst,” by Jameson Currier, that just crushes me whenever I read it. And if Ethan Mordden’s Buddies books are seen as a collection of short stories, then those would have to be at the top of my list.
Work of non-fiction?
That’s kind of broad. In art, probably my two volumes of The Art of Florence and a biography of Mark Rothko. Other favorite biographies include books on Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman. In pop culture, a book about the Beach Boys called Heroes and Villains. Then there’s just about anything Hunter S. Thompson ever wrote.
I got nothing.
Who is your favorite writer?
There are just too many. Among my literary favorites are Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Austen, Larry McMurtry, Tom Robbins, Andrew Holleran, Ethan Mordden. Yet there are popular writers whose books I love because they make me laugh or cry or both.
Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I don’t publicly criticize other writers regardless of how little I like their work.
What is your desert island book?
I’d take those three volumes of Remembrance of Things Past because that may be the only way I’ll finish them.
And … what are you reading right now?
I’m between books.