The Cheever stories, the Vonnegut stories, the Salinger stories (especially those I had to find online, before he became THAT Salinger). Bukowski wrote short stories that were prose poems, yet I read them as the vignettes of life that, to me, rate as full-blown short stories.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever read about typewriters?
Can’t say I’ve ever read about a typewriter, but I did see one that made me sit up and take notice. Ray Milland walking up Third Avenue with his portable typewriter, looking for a pawnbroker so he can hock it to buy alcohol. The typewriter was valuable to him so he could feed his addiction, but he was a writer! He was going to go all O. Henry and sell the tool of his trade, like a samurai warrior trading in his sword for a cheap blade and a jug of sake. He was committing creative career suicide. As a writer, he had only his mind and his typewriter, the latter had value but was made worthless without the former. He had lost his soul and had no more use for his typewriter — and it was a beauty!!
What’s the last book that made you laugh?
Ada Calhoun’s “Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give.” I mean, underlining and yellow marker bust-out laughs.
The last book to make you cry?
“Hue 1968,” by Mark Bowden. Dear God, the horrors, and the waste. And I know some of the people who were there …
The last book that made you furious?
James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.” Nothing seems to have changed. He tells the story of going to the NYC Public Library on Fifth Avenue when he was 10. A cop — as large an authority figure in the world to a 10-year-old — said to him as he was crossing the avenue, “Why don’t you people stay in Harlem where you belong.” Heart-breaking and maddening …
Which genres do you avoid?
Novels of murder and conspiracy.
How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? One book at a time or several simultaneously? Morning or night?
Paper. One at a time. Any time of day.
What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?
Maeve Binchy! I love her stories and have since “Light a Penny Candle.”