The crime writer, whose latest Guido Brunetti mystery is “Unto Us a Son Is Given,” says Charles Dickens “will teach any writer how to plot and can turn a sentence into an incantation.”
What books are on your nightstand?
Randall Jarrell’s “Pictures From an Institution,” because I can open it anywhere, and it will make me laugh. We recovering professors owe him an enormous debt for his merciless treatment of academia. Richard Powers’s “The Overstory,” because I read it too quickly a few months ago and want to see again, more closely and with greater attention, how he works his magic. Two poets: John Donne and Elizabeth Bishop.
Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
I’m of a mind that serious reading is meant to be done while lying on the sofa. Late morning is a good time, as is late afternoon. I need a pencil. No paper: That smells of plagiarism. I read The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books in bed, morning and evening, but sometimes I can’t make sense of the cultural references because I’ve lived out of the country most of my life, and many new words are familiar but not understood. I’m also confused by famous people, most of whose names I recognize from my reading but of whom I have no real sense. Actors, rock stars, politicians, C.E.O.’s, sports heroes: Who are they?
What’s your favorite book of all time?
“Great Expectations,” which I first read in high school and have read and taught many times since then. The opening is a wham: A man appears from the fog and holds the hero aloft by his foot, thus turning his life upside down, as well. It’s got everything: Miss Havisham waiting for death beside her spider-eaten wedding cake; the spiritually shattered Estella, the love of Pip’s life; and Magwitch, whose fate can still bring me to tears. Dickens will teach any writer how to plot and can turn a sentence into an incantation.
Which books got you hooked on crime fiction?
Ross Macdonald impressed me for the quality and beauty of his writing. I still, reading through them, come upon passages, especially his descriptions of characters, that I wish I had the courage to steal. He’s also a master at the well-honed plot that takes Lew Archer, and thus the reader, back a generation to find the source of the crime. He’s compassionate, apparently well read, and decent.
Who’s your favorite fictional detective? And the best villain?
Lew Archer is my favorite detective, and I suppose Tom Ripley is my favorite villain.
What makes for a good mystery?
Good grief, I’ve no idea. Seems to me, the writer has got to persuade the reader that the quest (solving the mystery) is worth the effort and the cost. The crime should be of some importance; I prefer something of wider interest than discovering who stuck the Malaysian kris into Lord Binkley’s back in the library. There should, I believe, be someone for whom the reader feels sympathy or affection; it’s probably better to kill a person who is good and likable than to dispatch a villain. After all, if the reader doesn’t care about what’s happening to the people in the book, there’s little reason to read it.
What kinds of stories are you drawn to? And what do you steer clear of?
I love hypocrisy above all other minor vices. There is so much of it around these days: We swim in a sea of it. Much crime fiction uncovers the hidden nastiness of characters in their offhand remarks. Ruth Rendell is wonderful at this; there’s one scene where the owner of a country home, upon learning of the accidental death of a young girl, says something like, “But she was only a Pakistani.” Rendell loves to have her well-bred middle-class characters dismiss the humanity of others, especially when their rancor is based on racial or religious prejudice.
I could not write about bad things done to kids or about kidnapping: They are too horrid.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
“The Scarlet Pimpernel”; the novels of Patrick O’Brian, all of which I’ve read at least twice; Gibbon’s “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” which I read for the style and opulence of his language; Harry Sidebottom’s “Warrior of Rome” series. I cut up rough when a bookseller, asked to recommend good historical fiction, pulled down a paperback with a gorgeous, hunky centurion, his thick-muscled body covered with blood and sand. What if I were to be killed in a train crash, and they found THAT next to me? The very thought. But he insisted, and 10 pages had me hooked. I spent last July devouring all of them.
Who is your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer?
Flannery O’Connor is neither overlooked nor underappreciated, but she has of late grown out of fashion, and she’s out of print in many languages. Her short stories are majestic presentations of human foolishness, weakness, vanity, self-importance, viciousness, yet all of them are suffused with an awareness of and reverence for human worth. I’ve never figured out how she does this.
What kind of reader were you as a child?
I loved books about animals (and still do: Sy Montgomery’s “The Soul of an Octopus” is a dream) and about ancient history. When I was about 7, I complained to my mother that I had nothing to do. She did not hesitate but drove me immediately to the local library and took me to the children’s room and told me I could take home five books. The first was a book about Egypt, with pictures. I remember realizing that the whole world was there, in that small room.
What’s the best book you ever received as a gift?
In the ’70s, during one of the long periods when I claimed refugee status in graduate school, a friend gave me Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” Oh my, oh my, oh my: It wasn’t the land of hope and glory, was it? We weren’t the good guys, were we? Well, I’d spent my youth in Cloud Cuckoo Land, hadn’t I, but Professor Zinn was there to whack me upside the head. Bless him for that. Strangely enough, when I went to teach in China a few years later, his was the only book that disappeared from the box of books I’d sent myself.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Ah, so he’s finally learned how?
What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
Oh, the danger of this question, the temptation. Shall we grant an amnesty to the living? Yes, better. Put Susan Sontag’s “The Volcano Lover” in front of me, and I’d slide it back to you, unopened, unread. I tried, failed twice.
If you were to write something besides mysteries, what would you write?
I’ve had an idea for a science fiction/futuristic/dystopian novel for years but never find time to do more than think about it.
Whom would you choose to write your life story?
Any one of the four Evangelists. I could but hope he’d give me the same shiny gloss he did to his original subject.B:
广东买马高手猛料“【那】【两】【个】【精】【神】【病】【患】【者】？” “【没】【错】，【他】【们】【两】【个】【不】【怕】【那】【魔】【气】【的】，【试】【试】【看】，【不】【行】【再】【把】【他】【们】【拉】【回】【来】。” 【廖】【礼】【听】【后】，【想】【了】【想】。 “【那】【好】【吧】，【就】【按】【你】【说】【的】【办】，【一】【有】【问】【题】【马】【上】【拉】【回】【来】。” 【同】【意】【这】【个】【提】【议】【也】【是】【因】【为】【廖】【礼】【也】【在】【视】【频】【中】【看】【见】【了】【两】【人】【的】【变】【化】。 【两】【人】【竟】【然】【能】【从】【人】【变】【成】【动】【物】，【还】【能】【变】【回】【来】，【这】【真】【是】【让】【廖】【礼】【有】【些】【吃】【惊】
【远】【山】【森】【林】【公】【园】（【一】【副】【骷】【髅】） 【不】【管】【三】【七】【二】【十】【一】，【我】【曲】【体】【奋】【起】【荒】【蛮】【之】【力】【往】【前】【一】【滚】，【管】【他】【什】【么】【方】【向】【不】【方】【向】，【动】【起】【来】【就】【意】【味】【能】【够】【前】【进】，【虽】【然】【前】【进】【的】【方】【向】【旋】【散】【在】【杂】【草】【从】【中】。 【我】【胡】【乱】【一】【滚】【就】【把】【自】【己】【滚】【到】【了】【一】【块】【大】【石】【头】【脚】【下】，【还】【没】【来】【得】【及】【看】【清】【石】【头】【周】【围】【的】【情】【况】，【就】【顺】【手】【用】【右】【手】【撩】【了】【撩】【压】【在】【身】【下】【的】【碎】【石】【子】，【却】【没】【有】【撩】【动】【像】【石】【子】【又】【不】
【文】【素】【馨】【皱】【眉】【看】【着】【前】【面】，“【法】【夏】，【我】【们】【要】【不】【要】【去】【帮】【忙】？” 【突】【然】，【容】【法】【夏】【抓】【住】【她】【的】【肩】【膀】，【道】：“【还】【有】【车】。” 【文】【素】【馨】【闻】【言】【望】【过】【去】，【的】【确】【看】【到】【远】【处】【有】【一】【道】【微】【弱】【的】【黄】【光】，【两】【人】【往】【旁】【边】【挪】【了】【两】【步】。【片】【刻】，【两】【辆】【车】【慢】【慢】【降】【了】【速】，【停】【了】【下】【来】。【两】【人】【想】【上】【前】【询】【问】【情】【况】，【可】【这】【些】【幸】【存】【者】【一】【下】【来】【便】【疯】【了】【般】【往】【前】【跑】，【她】【们】【连】【拦】【个】【人】【都】【拦】【不】【到】
【跨】【越】【位】【面】，【追】【杀】【了】【容】【澄】【三】【个】【位】【面】【的】【敌】【人】【并】【非】【普】【通】【人】【类】，【而】【是】【天】【地】【规】【则】。 【容】【澄】【在】【余】【淼】【淼】【和】【白】【长】【岳】【的】【身】【边】【经】【历】【两】【世】【轮】【回】【后】，【觉】【醒】【了】【血】【脉】【里】【的】【天】【赋】【能】【力】，【也】【通】【过】【白】【长】【岳】【藏】【在】【他】【血】【脉】【里】【的】【记】【忆】【传】【承】【明】【白】【了】【自】【己】【的】【来】【历】，【为】【了】【成】【长】，【为】【了】【可】【以】【保】【护】【家】【人】，【他】【在】【胖】【哥】【的】【帮】【助】【下】【独】【自】【前】【往】【适】【合】【修】【仙】【的】【世】【界】【历】【练】，【没】【想】【到】【遇】【见】【了】【贪】【婪】【又】广东买马高手猛料【苏】【凡】【的】【动】【作】【一】【顿】。 【接】【着】，【苏】【凡】【将】【手】【中】【的】【刀】【叉】【轻】【轻】【放】【在】【了】【桌】【子】【上】。 【看】【到】【这】，【沐】【云】【心】【中】【一】【喜】。 【果】【然】【还】【是】【太】【年】【轻】，【一】【点】【小】【小】【的】【激】【将】【法】，【就】【把】【这】【小】【子】【给】【搞】【定】【了】。 “【苏】【凡】，【你】【冷】【静】【点】。”【陈】【嫣】【然】【回】【过】【头】，【担】【心】【地】【看】【着】【苏】【凡】【道】。 【苏】【凡】【起】【身】，【伸】【手】【将】【陈】【嫣】【然】【拉】【到】【了】【自】【己】【的】【位】【置】，【二】【人】【瞬】【间】【完】【成】【互】【换】。 “【你】【能】【不】
【距】【离】【子】【时】【还】【有】【两】【个】【时】【辰】，【红】【缇】【真】【予】【正】【要】【去】【找】【祁】【藏】【商】【议】【晚】【上】【的】【事】【情】，【然】【而】【令】【他】【没】【想】【到】【的】【是】，【还】【没】【见】【到】【祁】【藏】，【就】【先】【见】【到】【红】【缇】【成】【夏】。 “【你】【怎】【么】【在】【这】【里】？”【红】【缇】【真】【予】【微】【微】【蹙】【眉】，“【长】【老】【让】【你】【来】【的】？” 【红】【缇】【成】【夏】【扯】【了】【扯】【嘴】【角】，【道】，“【你】【总】【是】【让】【他】【们】【操】【心】，【走】【吧】，【回】【去】【了】。” 【红】【缇】【真】【予】【微】【微】【挑】【眉】，“【该】【回】【去】【的】【时】【候】【我】【自】【会】