Bookhounds Asked, I Answered!

  1. What is on your nightstand?

Six issues of the New Yorker, dating back to August; my iPad which I use at night for Kindle reading, (most recently The Sympathizer, an amazing book by Viet Thanh Nguyen), playing gin rummy, playing the NY Times Minipuzzle and checking the temperature of our house upstate; a Sharper Image white noise machine which I never use but there it sits; two connected wooden balls to massage my often aching back; the Consumer Reports 2016 Buyers Guide; Books: The Future of Theoretical Physics and Cosmology, Celebrating Stephen Hawking’s 60th Birthday (gift from a friend); Blood, Sweat and My Rock n’ Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star, by Steve Katz (I met him recently, he was in The Blues Project, one of my all time favorite groups); the Coming, by Andrej Nikolaidis; I Curse the River of Time, by Per Petterson; and Game for Five, by Marco Malvadi.

  1. What author would you totally fan?

If Shakespeare were alive I’d definitely be following, imagine his daily thoughts coming atcha! Ditto Bob Dylan. And John Burdett, his stories while set in Thailand have riffs on contemporary society and culture that are wildly insightful and imaginative.

  1. What makes you cringe?

After the election, I’m afraid that’s dominating my gag reflux. I grew up in the Sixties, and the thought of what will dominate policies and the courts for years to come around women’s rights, climate change, the treatment of different peoples, the callous indifference to the poor to benefit the rich, scares and saddens me, not the way I thought or hoped the world would turn out. Prior to the election, I would have said an abhorrence for when injustice goes unpunished, such as the spate of killings of young black men in this country, which I’m sure has been going on for a long time and we’re now only able to notice because of cell phone cameras.

  1. Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?

It’s a mix, certainly first drafts stream with the river of my mind. Revisions are more detailed, especially in thinking through the timing of details when and how they are revealed, the relationship to each other across the flow of the book. Those foreshadowing elements… “It was the last time he would ever see her this way…” and such, to engage the reader. Since I love language, the turns of words and phrases that captivate, provoke and capture large thoughts in a few words, I do perhaps obsess more about that.

  1. Is there a word you love to use?

Hopefully the right one at the right time! If anything, I try not to be repetitive in the use of words, unless its for an effect. I will say I do love the word murmur. Also intrepid.

6. Also, if you have any pictures of your pet you would like to share, please attach them. My readers love animals!

Sorry, no pets. While I love dogs, I live in New York City, and I just won’t scoop poop. When I was a boy I had a beagle for a short time, and also a half moon parrot. Do the mice in our apartment count? We once found some swinging in our dishwasher like they were playing on the monkey bars!

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