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Biblio File, Interviews

Ask the Author: T.C. Boyle


The Harder They Come Cover

T.C. Boyle comes to Books at Noon next Wednesday, April 1 to discuss his latest work, The Harder They Come. We asked him six questions about what he likes to read.

When and where do you like to read?

I read pretty much everywhere and always carry a book in the event that I find myself crushed by boredom while waiting on a line somewhere, but my favorite place is in front of the fireplace in the living room here, dog at my side, cat in lap, rain drooling down the windows and the fire snapping merrily.

What were your favorite books as a child?

I didn’t read much as a child, so we’d have to pull a few comic books out of the pile—Classics Illustrated comes to mind.  Beyond that, I loved animal stories, Big Red and the like. My touchstone?  Rikki Tikki Tavi.

What books had the greatest impact on you?

The stories and novels I read as a young man who had notions of becoming a writer himself.  I was swept away by the work of writers with a large and encompassing vision, like Coover, Pynchon, Grass, Barthelme, Cortázar, García Márquez, Calvino and a host of others.

Would you like to name a few writers out there you think deserve greater readership?

Richard Lange, who, in his latest book of stories, Sweet Nothing, reminds me of Ray Carver reborn in Los Angeles.  And Dana Spiotta, whose Stone Arabia (2011), is the best pop-music novel I’ve ever run across.

What was the last book you recommended?

Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy, a history of World War II in Europe. Atkinson writes beautifully, and his history unfolds with all the passion and immediacy of a good novel.  And Martin Amis’ latest, the chilling The Zone of Interest.

What do you plan to read next?

Looking forward to Ishiguro’s latest and to the third and final volume of William Manchester’s magisterial biography of Winston Churchill, a narrative every bit as compelling as Atkinson’s.


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