The Swedish novelist whose new book is '' The Winners, '' doesn't like to be too comfortable while he's reading : ''I'll fall asleep. A hammock or a nice sofa? Forget about it.''

.- What books are on your night stand?

I have two kids and a German shepherd, so we don't have a night stand, we barely have furniture. But the books that are spread across the apartment, with various amount of bite marks, right now are ''A Waiter in Paris,'' by Edward Chisholm, and ''Down and Out in Paris and London,'' by George Orwell, because Chisholm mentioned it.

I also just received the manuscript for a Swedish debut by Marcus Berggren, called '' A Good Place in the Head,'' and it's incredibly funny. I laughed that the dog is mad at me now for waking him up.

.- Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

I don't know if this counts, but last spring my family and I went from Sweden to the United States to watch a movie shot in Pittsburgh, and on the way we stopped in Harrisburg, Pa., at a a fantastic bookstore where I found Mark Twain's ''Library of Humour'' from 1888.

It was fantastically entertaining. If that doesn't count I'll say ''All the King's Men,'' by Robert Penn Warren, which I read for the first time only recently and enjoyed, very, very much.

.- Describe your ideal reading experience [ when, where, what, how}

As I mentioned I have kids and a dog, so my dreams of a reading experience are limited to just being left alone for 10 minutes just about anywhere.

And the thing is that when my children were small I kind of got used to reading in very uncomfortable situations, sitting on the bathroom floor while they were bathing or on a narrow wooden bench in some gymnasium waiting for a soccer game, so now I can't be too comfortable anywhere because I'll fall asleep.

A hammock or a nice sofa? Forget about it. But a chair, just comfortable enough, on a balcony just above a very busy street would probably be my favorite. Other than that, I love to read in a room where my wife is also reading.

.- Which writers - novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets - working today do you admire most?

There's way too many to go through here, but to name a few : The Norwegian author Erlend Loe has been a great inspiration to me comedically. In the last few years I've been blown away by different aspects of David Sedaris, Zadie Smith and Celeste Neg, so they've probably influenced me.

Can I say Dolly Parton too? I adore her storytelling. I've found great comfort in the books on writing by Stephen King, Annie Dillard and Haruki Murakami. My friend Niklas Natt och Dag has introduced me to Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore and I can't thank him enough for that.

On a personal level.I've tried to learn from the generosity and grace shown to me by Chris Cleave and Sofi Oksanen when we met at the beginning of my career. And of course : Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates have inspired me greatly in the way they write, but even more so in the way they are. They take my breath away.

.- Do you count any books as guilty pleasures?

No.I can't imagine a time where reading should make you feel guilty. When I was little I was obsessed with comic books, and one time one of mother's friends said condescendingly to her :'' Why don't you give him a proper book to read?'' My mother turned around and answered :

''My children can read whatever they want, just as long as they read!''  It's one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. My mother is still the person I talk about reading the most.

.- What moves you the most in a work of literature?

Struggling relationships, always. The impossible human experience of just trying to get through the day with everyone you love being somewhat Ok at the end of it.

.- Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which of them do you avoid?

I read almost everything except for horror. I don't enjoy being scared and I really don't need any help to become so. I have a very vivid imagination, which is bad, because my brain needs very little to just run amok and scare the hell out of me.

.- You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Douglas Adams, Astrid Lindgren, Charles Dickens. They would trick me into going outside and then lock the door and let me back in, but that's all right.

.- What's the most interesting thing that you've learned from a book recently?

I can't answer that question because the things in books that interest me the most are always the things I knew nothing about when I started reading. ''The Gospel of Eels,'' by Patrik Svensson, is about eels, for example, and I really had no idea how strongly I would feel about eels.

I think I can be interested in just about anything that someone else is a little too interested in.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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