After 60 years on the job - the retired vice president and managing editor at Knopf Doubleday doesn't plan to stop reading :  '' I'm looking forward to whole new areas.''

.-  What books are on your night stand?

Still there, because I just finished it, is '' Martyr!'' by Kaveh Akbar, a brilliant debut novel that we're publishing early next year,  about the orphaned son of Iranian immigrants searching the mysteries of his past.

Dazzling and surprising and capacious and riveting; I didn't want it to end. Just started Emily Wilson's new translation of the ''IIad.'' 

In the pile that keeps growing : Middlemarch [last read 50 years ago]; ''King : A Life,'' by Jonathan Eig : '' Warner Bros,'' by David Thomson; '' Tom Lake,'' by Ann Patchett [ I've never read her!!!]; ''Sondheim,'' by Stephen Silverman:  

'' The White Album,'' by Didion [ just bought at a flea market].

.-  What's the last book you read that made you cry?

'' A Year of Last Things,'' Michael Ondaatje's first book of poetry in decades [to be published in March].

You know the power of Ondaatje's language; here he's reached new heights in conveying the mystery of being alive.

.-  The last book that made you furious?

''Sabbath's Theater,'' by Philip Roth : Nasty. He takes his obsessions, his sexual transgressions, to the nth degree. Absolutely outrageous and infuriating. I wanted to throw it across the room.

.-  The last book that made you laugh?

'' Sabbath's Theater,'' by Philip Roth : Profound, insightful, reveals the depth of human nature - hilarious. A sick comic masterpiece.

.-  What subjects do you wish more authors would write about?

I love great books on the process of creating. Hard to beat Robert Caro's ''Working'' - in which he shares not only. his experiences getting the story, the depth and quality of his research, but also the time and effort he takes in the actual writing, to get the language perfect, and weave the facts into a tapestry that is as thrilling to the reader as it was in real life.

Words matter, mood matters. Rhythm matters, sense of place matters. People talk about Literature, as though it's only fiction, but Caro's works are masterpieces of research and artistry - truly great literature.  

.-  What do you envision as coming next for you?

I'll continue working with Bob Caro, as I have for 50 years, but people ask what am I going to do when I don't have to work night and day? Read!!! 

A large percentage of my reading has been, for 60 years, paper manuscripts [ I don't like reading online] or bound proofs of titles we're publishing. I'm looking forward to whole new areas of reading and rereading, and rather than be haphazard, I want to make an exciting project out of it.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!