What I’m looking for . . .
Well, let me start by saying what I was not looking for. A memoir about growing up in Lewiston, NY, in the ’50s. But after reading the first few pages, and then the first few stories, I was entranced. For me, it’s all about the writing, and the freshness of the words and sentences. (That book was Too Close to the Falls.) Here's something else I wasn't looking for: a memoir by a rock drummer about grief. But the writing hooked me, and the story carried me through. (That was Ghost Rider.) The same principle applies to fiction. I love to be surprised, and I love to find myself reading something that I would never pick up in a bookstore (if any remain). In fact, I enjoy reading unsolicited proposals; I live in hope. I sometimes find myself reading a line or a passage to anyone who happens to be within earshot. I do this spontaneously because I like to share what I'm enjoying; and then I observe myself and register the fact that I want others to take pleasure in what I'm reading. That's the impetus for signing up a book.
What I read (and loved) recently . . .
As a kid, I read sports biographies and historical fiction. As an adult, I still read sports biographies, but now all sorts of biographies. Topical non-fiction (but in order to interest me, the writing must be compelling; if I can figure out the thesis in a line, then the examples better carry me forward). Lots of mysteries and literate fiction. Poker books. This year I got on a Mark Twain jag; I love being on a jag. Lots of books about musicians, especially from the ’60s. Current fiction so that I'm not embarrassed at book launches.
What I do outside of work . . .
Hey, no surprise, I’m usually reading. When the weather’s warmer, with a baseball game on the TV (muted), SiriusXM channel 76 playing in the background, and maybe some nuts and a Diet Coke close by. I love to read at the cottage where I have what feels like unlimited time to read a 600-page book, or away from home anywhere. One of my tests is whether I can read something on a plane; the writing has to be either very simple or the story very grabbing to keep my attention.