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Question of the Reading Week

September 20, 2013

Holden Caulfield says, in The Catcher in the Rye, “what really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

This week, I wish I could call Margaret Atwood and tell her how much I love MaddAddam. (In fact, I did tweet my review at her.)

Who do you wish you could call?

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 7:35 am

    If I say CS Lewis, will I be banned for necromancy?

    • September 20, 2013 8:14 am

      No! Necromancy is allowed on this question. (I never said you couldn’t do it, just that it will never pay.)

  2. September 20, 2013 7:47 am

    I wish I were friends with Marisha Pessl. But I think I’d have to be smarter and funnier to qualify. Also, CS Lewis. I am plenty smart enough for HIM.

    • September 20, 2013 9:14 am

      Don’t you think you’d get points with Marisha for being ardent in your admiration? It sounds like there would be more back-and-forth with “Jack.”

    • September 22, 2013 10:44 am

      Mumsy don’t be so silly! You are super smart and funny. Marisha Pessl should be so lucky as to have you for a friend.

  3. September 20, 2013 8:07 am

    David Sedaris.

    • September 20, 2013 8:08 am

      Or maybe Barbara Kingsolver.

    • September 20, 2013 9:15 am

      I bet the conversation with Sedaris would be a hell of a lot more fun. I love Kingsolver’s writing, but the woman has a deep vein of earnest.

      • September 20, 2013 5:33 pm

        Deep vein of earnest is okay by me. Especially with caller ID so I can not answer the cell when I’m not prepared to be earnest.

      • September 21, 2013 6:44 pm

        Also–Did you know that my erstwhile roommate, Tee, has met and now lives near Ms. Kingsolver?

        • September 22, 2013 10:15 am

          I did know that, because she has told me about it!

  4. September 20, 2013 8:07 am

    Also, although you didn’t ask, I would pay BIG MONEY to NOT be friends with JD Salinger.

    • September 20, 2013 9:12 am

      The thing about Salinger is that you don’t have to. Like my former friend (Araby, 3/26/12, Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out 4/11/12, Hostile Platitudes 3/15/13), he closes his door for the pleasure of assuming people are knocking at it.

  5. September 20, 2013 8:35 am

    Too many to list! Kurt Vonnegut, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Kate Atkinson, etc.

    • September 20, 2013 9:13 am

      You could talk to those four in one week? I think I’d have to study up and take them at least a week apart! I mean, at the very least, I’d want to reread their books so I could remember the details I love and tell them, or ask where one came from.

  6. September 20, 2013 8:47 am

    Dorothy Parker or Flannery O’Connor.

    • September 20, 2013 9:16 am

      You, of all the people I know, could probably come close to keeping up with the pace of either of those conversations!

  7. September 20, 2013 9:28 am

    Oh, boy, this is a tough one! Dead or alive? If dead, William Blake! If alive, I would have to say Stephen King

    • September 20, 2013 9:36 am

      It would be fascinating to talk to Blake, wouldn’t it? Perhaps King is not entirely out of reach; I see you having conversations with Beth Kephart as if she’s a terrific friend of yours and you can “call her up” on social media or e-mail!

  8. Alison permalink
    September 20, 2013 10:17 am

    Madeline L’Engle.

    • September 20, 2013 10:48 am

      That would be really fun, especially when you’re living with a first-grader in the house!

      • September 20, 2013 5:34 pm

        A friend of mine knows her!

  9. September 20, 2013 12:46 pm

    Charlotte Bronte. I can’t even tweet her 😦

  10. September 20, 2013 4:09 pm

    Great question! I would say Austen no matter what mood I’m in. I just think she would be so witty and clever in person. I can’t imagine what was in the letters Cassandra burned, but I wish I could have read them.

    • September 22, 2013 10:17 am

      Yes, Austen would be clever in person, I agree. Perhaps almost as clever as in writing….

  11. September 20, 2013 6:55 pm

    Jane Gardam or Margaret Mahy. I would be extremely interested in anything they had to say, and they would be the right kind of talkers to pick up the slack for someone who is not good on the phone.

    • September 22, 2013 10:20 am

      The right kind of talker would be an important consideration, actually. Now I’m going to have to find out for sure if I’ve ever read any of Gardam or Mahy’s books.

  12. September 20, 2013 8:28 pm

    I’ve been lucky enough to talk to some of the people who’ve been on this list. My first job out of college was as a temp at an Ivy League college which shall remain nameless and I got to interview Margaret Atwood for a campus publication. And Madeleine L’Engle went to my alma mater, where I met her several times. Also, if V is reading this, I met her once at D1’s school where she came to speak when I was in high school. She signed many of my books (all disintegrating paperbacks that I’ve read over and over again since childhood). I think, though, that I would very much like to speak with Marilynne Robinson. I’m less crazy in love with her more recent, more religiously themed books, but Housekeeping changed my life. And also Harper Lee. Both that I want to talk to her and that she changed my life.

    • September 22, 2013 10:22 am

      I’ve met Marilynne Robinson, when she gave a reading at University of Maryland, College Park sometime in the late 1980s. There we were, a big room full of ardently devoted fans, and instead of reading and talking about fiction, she gave us a rant about some kind of current event. It was deeply disappointing.

  13. September 21, 2013 6:10 am

    Well, if it was George R.R. Martin, yesterday would have been a particularly good day to give him a call to wish him a happy birthday. Steven Erikson or R. Scott Bakker are probably at the top of my list.

    There are plenty of dead guys on my list, but I’ve been advised to steer clear of necromancy.

    • September 22, 2013 10:25 am

      I would give George R.R. Martin the same advice (to steer clear of necromancy). Also, I’ve had Neuropath on my radar for a while now; I should find a copy this year.

      • September 24, 2013 10:46 am

        I’ve only read his Prince of Nothing series and the first book of the follow-up trilogy The Aspect-Emperor. Prince of Nothing was pretty incredible, IMO. If you read Neuropath be sure to review it or let me know privately what you think.

  14. September 22, 2013 10:45 am

    Oscar Wilde of course. Or Diana Wynne Jones — it would be great to be able to call her up and get her advice on things. I bet she would have many good advices and stories.

    • September 22, 2013 11:40 am

      I would love to be able to wind up Oscar Wilde and listen to him talk to his friends for an hour, but am afraid that if I got to talk to him directly, the power of speech would desert me. It’s easier to imagine being able to talk to DWJ.

  15. Jenny permalink
    September 24, 2013 12:34 am

    Too many, far too many. Just this week I’d like to be able to call up Colum McCann and tell him how much I really really loved Let The Great World Spin. I guess I could really send him a thank-you note via his publisher, why not.

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