What books are currently on your nightstand?
I’m slowly reading my
way through Joseph Epstein’s A Literary Education. Epstein is one of my
favorite essayists. I also have Sixteen Short Novels edited by Wilfrid
Sheed which presents works by John O’Hara, Edith Wharton, John
Steinbeck, Thomas Mann, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Albert Camus,
William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Willa Cather, Philip Roth,
Brian Moore, and of course, Wilfrid Sheed. And The New Annotated H. P.
Who are your favorite writers?
Henry James and Anthony
Trollope. My favorite science fiction writer is Jack Vance. My
favorite fantasy writer is Michael Moorcock. My favorite short story
writer is Alice Munro.
What genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?
tend to alternate between mysteries and science fiction/fantasy. I
avoid serial killer novels (I think that genre has been played out) and
romance novels. I read an occasional western. I’m a huge fan of caper
What books might we be surprised to find on your bookshelves?
Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Rick Brant, and Ken Holt, all mystery series I read in my childhood.
You’ve contributed over 325 book reviews to Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books. Who do you consider writers we should be reading?
Brackett and C. L. Moore. Leigh Brackett wrote mysteries and science
fiction and she ending up writing screenplays for movies like The Big
Sleep, Rio Bravo, and The Long Goodbye. C. L. Moore was a gifted short
story writer. Her best work can be found in Northwest of Earth.
What contemporary writer will cause you to drop everything and read their new book?
science fiction, it’s Matthew Hughes who channels Jack Vance. In
mysteries, it’s C. J. Sansom whose new Shardlake novel, Lamentation,
just arrived from Amazon. In literary fiction, it’s Alice Munro and
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers would you invite?
That’s easy: Patti Abbott, Megan Abbott, and Jane Austen.