Woman reading in New York Public Library
1) What author do you own the most books by?
Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No, I could care less.
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
The aviator in The English Patient
5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
The Brothers Karamazov
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Half Magic and The Little Princess
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Three Delays by Charlie Smith
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown
9) If you could force everyone here to read one book, what would it be?
The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoyevsky or Middlemarch by George Eliot
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Good Lord, who knows? Who cares?
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
The Brothers Karamazov
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
This is a ridiculous question.
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
The DaVinci Code -- sorry to be such a snob.
15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
All that Proust in college (I was a French lit major) and that giant tome by Umberto Ecco whose title I can't remember.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I haven't. But I did see Ian McKellen once playing Lear.
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Definitely the Russians.
18) Roth or Updike?
19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
21) Austen or Eliot?
If you mean T.S. Eliot, then I pick Austen. If you mean George Eliot, then I pick Eliot.
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I've only read two Don Delillo novels and I've never read Tolstoy's War and Peace. Or James Joyce's Ullysses.
23) What is your favorite novel?
Maybe The Brothers Karamazov or To the Lighthouse
Dancing at Lughnasa, maybe? Othello? Wit?
Anything by Yeats
Way too hard -- I could never pick one. I was blown away by William Langewiesche's three articles that appeared shortly after the World Trade Center fell. They were published in The Atlantic -- American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. Joan Didion's essays are pretty amazing, and I laugh extremely hard when I read David Sedaris.
27) Short Story?
Lorrie Moore's There are No People Like that Here, Faulkner's A Rose for Emily and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery get me every time I read them. I'll read any of William Trevor's short stories, too --
28) Work of nonfiction?
Too many to count, but Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast is one of my favorite memoirs.
29) Who is your favorite writer?
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
This is mean. Jonathan Franzen?
31) What is your desert island book?
Something blank. The Brothers Karamazov otherwise
32) And... what are you reading right now?
Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz