Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
In my office, on my chaise longue, with one of my cats on me, on a spring or fall day where the temperature is nice enough to have the windows open, and there is a nice breeze (and also I’ve taken my Claritin for the day; I live in rural Ohio and we have all of the pollen). But honestly I can read just about anywhere, and have, and will again, just watch me.
What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?
In science fiction: “Raising the Stones,” by Sheri S. Tepper, a quasi-sequel to her novel “Grass” (also exceptional, with “Dune”-level worldbuilding), which has very interesting things to say about masculinity and society, and is very sadly out of print. “Grass,” however, is in print. Get it.
What book should everybody read before the age of 21?
There is no single book everyone should read before age 21; there is, I suspect, the one right book for each person which, if they read it at a young age, makes them fall in love with reading for life. I endorse doing what we can to find that one book for each person, rather than stuffing the same book down everyone’s throat. With books, one size does not fit all.
What book should nobody read until the age of 40?
I mean, I grew up in a house where the rule for books was “if you can reach it, you can read it,” and used that same rule for my kid, so, meh, there’s not one? There are books you bounce off of at 15 that speak to you at 40, and vice versa. The only way you’re going to find them is to try them. I’m not in love with segregating out books by age. Let books speak to readers.
Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — working today do you admire most?