What books are currently on your night stand?
Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today?
Flannery O’Connor is my number one. Who could possibly top her? There are many writers I call my favorites but no one writes like Flannery. Her mind is such a wonder. I can re-read one of her tales, such as “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and still be jolted out of my skin no matter how many times I re-read it.
Of the current writers, I particularly like Paula Hawkins for her fast-paced psychological thrillers “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on a Train.”
I also found “The Nightingale” such a remarkable story that Kristin Hannah became one of my new favorite writers. I loved the theme in that book of how women react during war time. I then read her haunting “Winter Garden.” I definitely will read more of her work.
Do you have a favorite genre? Any literary guilty pleasures?
How do you organize your books?
Which books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
What do you like to read when you travel?
If you could have high school teachers read one book, what would it be? High school students?
What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
My first guest would be Flannery O’Connor who was the epitome of the great Southern writer. I would ask her how the darkness of her tales was influenced by her being struck with lupus in her late 20s. Given only five years to live, she lasted 12 years.
As to the other two, it is very difficult to decide between all those I love. But, I think I would ask Truman Capote, not only for his superb writing but he would add wit and humor to the event. I would ask him to describe how he combined fact and fiction to write “In Cold Blood.” Described as a “non-fiction novel,” I would ask him if he was aware of how he inspired so many generations of writers since.
Ken Follett would be my third guest. He writes of suspense, intrigue and spies with powerful narratives. From “The Eye of the Needle,” to “World Without End,” to “Fall of Giants,” he never short changes the reader. I would ask him how he carried on after writing 11 books before “Eye of the Needle”, his twelfth book, became his first success.
Are there any books that you found captured the New York scene in the 60's and 70's particularly well?
In the 60s, Suze Rotolo wrote “A Freewheelin Time: A Memory of Greenwich in the 60s.” It was very popular when it came out. Rotolo tells the story of her affair with Bob Dylan which was fated to fail when he became famous. It is a period piece on the times, both culturally and politically. She describes Greenwich Village when the Village was wonderful.
The seediness and dangers of Downtown New York City in the 70s is captured vividly in “Before” by Irini Spanidou. It is the story of three months in the life of a woman living an empty, destructive life of drugs, clubs and bad behavior. It is one of the best books to describe the era.