What books are currently on your nightstand?
The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio, a historical account of a nineteenth-century convent scandal (which I bought partly for the title but which I’m having a hard time slogging through) and The Golden Apples of the Sun, a Ray Bradbury anthology—the original paperback that I purchased for 40 cents back in 1961.
Who is your all-time favorite novelist?
Who indeed? Of Mice and Men is one of my all-time favorite novels, but I don’t know that Steinbeck is my all-time favorite novelist. I admire Faulkner’s style (over someone like, say, Hemingway), and I’ve certainly read most of his work (As I Lay Dying multiple times), but I don’t know if he’s my favorite novelist, either. I used to read everything that Kurt Vonnegut wrote, but I’m not as enamored of him as I used to be. My wife just reminded me about Virginia Woolf, an author whose entire novelist canon I’ve read and enjoyed (especially To the Lighthouse).
What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Three Comrades by Eric Maria Remarque because it is essentially and mostly a romance (as in “love story”), something I don’t usually gravitate toward. (But I saw and loved the 1938 movie—co-scripted by F. Scott Fitzgerald—when I was about 12 and had to get/read the book.)
Who is your favorite fictional character?
I struggled with this one and could come up with no satisfactory answer. I was thinking Odysseus, the original hero on a journey, but not all of his qualities are admirable. Ditto Yossarian in Catch-22. I suppose I must have one, but I don’t know who s/he is.
What book do you return to?
Already mentioned Of Mice and Men and As I Lay Dying above. Maybe Stephen King’s It, Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine—or Nightmares and Geezenstacks, a horror anthology of short stories by Fredric Brown (the first and greatest practitioner of what is now called “flash fiction”).
Bio: Anthony Ambrogio, 66, life-long resident of Detroit (and environs) until January 2015, when we moved to Cape Cod. Major claim to fame: Married to poet-novelist Anca Vlasopolos; two daughters. Minor claim to fame: numerous articles and reviews in periodicals like Midnight Marquee, Monsters from the Vault, and Video Watchdog. Strives for fiction-publication credits but so far has only a very few short stories to show for it. (Photo attached.)