I enjoy browsing the "new books" bookshelf at my local library because I'll often pick up something unexpected that I would never have found otherwise. This heavy reference book is a recent example of one of my finds.
By the Book edited by Pamela Paul contains 65 interviews of writers that originally appeared in The New York Times Book Review. The list of writers includes a mix of popular authors such as John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark, literary authors such as Jhumpa Lahiri, and some unexpected names including Lena Dunham and Sting. Questions include current books they're reading, book recommendations for the president, books they couldn't finish, what to read on a desert island, and favorite books as a child. The hand drawn portraits by Jillian Tamaki are the perfect accent to the profiles. Her name should have been listed on the cover.
A few highlights:
- J. K. Rowling came up a lot in conversation. Who knew that Colin Powell was a fan?
- Anna Quindlen gave this fun answer about the character from literature she'd most like to meet: "Elizabeth Bennet. We would be buds for sure, power-walking the grounds of Pemberley. And I would get to hang out with Darcy."
- Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook prefers reading paper books over ebooks.
- Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were the books that made Joyce Carol Oates want to write.
- I enjoyed Dave Barry's response to the paper or electronic book question: "Definitely paper. I say this because we authors get smaller royalties on e-book sales. So I'd like to start a rumor that electronic books cause fatal diseases and sometimes explode. This must be true, because it's printed right here in The New York Times."
You can read By the Book interviews online, too. It's fun to scroll through the list and see the huge variety of names included. Some recent additions since late 2014 include Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Patrick Harris.