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60 Writers

by Susan Henderson on August 31, 2006

The Fabulous Writers Pop Quiz

Thanks to 60 fabulous writers who took my POP QUIZ. I hope you’re checking out each other’s links and buying each other’s books.

AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL: What state and country are you in right now? Melancholy Favorite drink? Coffee. or really, sadly, anything but water. Favorite game? I love board games and card games and logic games and word games but at the end of the day, if I had to pick just one, there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned game of “Truth or Dare.” Favorite movie? That’s pretty impossible to answer. I love a million movies. But perhaps if we use the criteria, which movies can I not NOT watch when I come across them on TV: “A Little Romance.” “The Contender.” “Fisher King.” “Dancer in the Dark.” “Broadcast News.” Favorite smell? Blown-out candles (Editor’s note: God, I love that.) Most played iTunes/iPod song? Snow Patrol’s last CD. they’re a UK band. love them. Hero? my daughter What you’re reading right now? “Charlotte’s Web.” I hadn’t read it since I was a child. I think it’s an incredibly special book. It has a literary kinship to Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town”–it’s like its younger, farm-dwelling cousin. Quality you most enjoy in others? Tall enough to reach things for me. Recommend a literary magazine. you know all the good ones already. May I suggest a music magazine instead: “Paste…” Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “Name All The Animals,” by Alison Smith. Because it is perfect.


JOHN HODGMAN: What state and country are you in right now? New York City, New York State. Favorite drink? The human body cannot live without water. So that trumps all right away. Thereafter: gin. No: whiskey. Don’t make me choose! Favorite game? The human body cannot live without “Red Rover,” though it is a hateful, hateful contest. Personally, I enjoy poker very much, though it is now a sad requisite to point out that I played poker before Brad Garrett did on television. Favorite movie? I would probably say “Fargo” is what I am most likely to put on these days. It has that old “Jaws” quality whereby you could just keep it on all day long and that would be fine. Favorite smell? Since I’m still lingering over the last one, I’ll cheat and say “the smell of Rosemary’s Baby” Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Surrounded By Friendship” by Cynthia Hopkins of www.gloriadeluxe.com Hero? As of last week’s tango lecture (www.littlegraybooks.com), Prof. Robert Farris Thompson of Yale University. What a mad, happy, brilliant, vigorous intellectual and fine public speaker! What you’re reading right now? I just finished last night the new “weighs 1000 pounds” edition of THE WATCHMEN and am amazed all over again. Quality you most enjoy in others? Creativity, I suppose. And juggling is awesome. Recommend a literary magazine. Any issue of Playboy from the seventies. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Courtesy Mr. David Guion: DON’T POINT THAT THING AT ME by Kyril Bonfiglioli. A great, nearly-lost classic of the shaggy dog crime genre that suddenly becomes as affecting a character study as any non-shaggy-dog-crime-genre novel, with a limitlessly imitable hero in Charlie Mortdecai, lover of both gin and whiskey, and a champion relaxer.


BOB THURBER: What state and country are you in right now? Massachusetts, USA Favorite drink? IBC Root Beer Favorite game? Blackjack Favorite movie? Lion In Winter Favorite smell? A dead-heat tie between Fresh Peaches & my wife’s hair Most played iTunes/iPod song? “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” by Judy Collins Hero? Henry Miller What you’re reading right now? “Femininity” by Susan Brown Miller Quality you most enjoy in others? Intelligence Recommend a literary magazine. Night Train Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “Pilgrim At Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard. Sublime!


LAILA LALAMI: What state and country are you in right now? Oregon, U.S. Favorite drink? Coffee Favorite game? Trivial Pursuit Favorite movie? “The Battle of Algiers” directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Favorite smell? The scent of lavender. The smell of freshly cut grass. Most played iTunes/iPod song? At the moment, I’ve been listening to Green Day’s “Holiday” because that’s the band my two year old daughter wants to hear all the time. Hero? Hans Solo. What you’re reading right now? “The Last Friend” by Tahar Ben Jelloun. Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty. Recommend a literary magazine. Swink. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. I would recommend “In the Eye of the Sun” by Ahdaf Soueif, a coming of age story set in Egypt and England in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a long book (800 pages) but it’s so engaging I neglected work, life and family while I was reading it.


KEVIN NOEL OLSON: What state and country are you in right now? Montana-Big Sky Country Favorite drink? Bloody Mary and coffee, but not
together Favorite game? Chess, Cryptoquotes-I had to give up chess for lent Favorite movie? Dreser’s Vampyre Favorite smell? I think ‘napalm in the morning’ is taken, so I’ll go with fresh rain at midnight Most played iTunes/iPod song? Johnny Cash’s ‘Cut You Down’ Hero? Soren Kierkegaard-I want to fall over in the street to die carrying the last of my money to print more pamphlets-well, not really… What you’re reading right now? ‘The Looking Glass Wars’ by Frank Beddor-very cool! Quality you most enjoy in others? Individuality and integrity Recommend a literary magazine. I like Fortean Times, although it’s not necessarily literary…


DANIEL HANDLER (aka LEMONY SNICKET): What state and country are you in right now? Texas, USA Favorite drink? Bourbon Old-Fashioned Favorite game? Contract bridge Favorite movie? Lair Of The White Worm Favorite smell? Grapefruit (Editor’s note: That’s pretty cute. Grapefruit.) Most played iTunes/iPod song? Palomar, “You Dance Bad” Hero? Eve Ensler What you’re reading right now? Peter Rock, The Ambidextrist Quality you most enjoy in others? Being off the phone Recommend a literary magazine. Zzyzva Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Stephen Dixon, Phone Rings, because it made me cry.


SEAN WILSEY: What state and country are you in right now? New York, USA. Favorite drink? Red Bush tea with milk and honey, Mma Romotswe-style. Favorite game? Foosball. Favorite movie? “Don’t Look Back” Favorite smell? Hot olive oil. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Wish I were hipper, but it’s “(Pride) In the Name of Love” by U2. Guided By Voices’ “The Enemy” is a closeish second. Hero? The Dalia Lama & Mikhail Bulgakov. What you’re reading right now? The Ghost Road, by Pat Barker. Quality you most enjoy in others? Enthusiasm. Recommend a literary magazine. Wilshire Review. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker. Wonderfully disturbing and sexy and deeeep. She writes with an economy and precision I admire tremendously.


COREY MESLER: What state and country are you in right now? Tennessee, USA Favorite drink? kahlua and cream Favorite game? Strip Yahtzee Favorite movie? Band of Outsiders (Godard) Favorite smell? BBQ in the alley by The Rendezvous Most played iTunes/iPod song? What’s itunes? “Tangled Up in Blue” (Dylan) Hero? Martin Luther King Jr. What you’re reading right now? Beckett’s The Unnamable Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. Forklift OH Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. The most gothic of gothic fantasies, its darknesses speak to the darknesses in me.


KAREN DIONNE: What state and country are you in right now? MI, USA Favorite drink? Coffee in the morning, paisano at night Favorite game? Minesweeperwhen I’m alone, Scrabble with friends Favorite movie? Jurassic Park Favorite smell? My husband cooking dinner Most played iTunes/iPod song? I am sadly iPod-less, but when I’m writing I listen to Bjork a LOT on my CD player. Hero? My daughter, Sarah, who’s the bravest person I know. What you’re reading right now? And Only to Deceive, by Tasha Alexander; Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty; State of Fear, by Michael Crichton Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty tempered with a sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. Thought Magazine, because Kevin Feeney started it when he was 15, and he loves my work. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Like Robin Slick, I only recently discovered this god of a writer. Every word in this gorgeous, imaginative, funny andwise novel isbeyond pitch perfect.


DANNY GREGORY: What state and country are you in right now? New York, New York, New York. Favorite drink? a pint mug of black tea with lots of milk, occasionally a spoonful of sugar Favorite game? World of Warcraft Favorite movie? Bottle Rocket; but ask me again tomorrow Favorite smell? Tuberose Most played iTunes/iPod song? 3-way Tie: All Blues by Miles Davis; One Horse Town by the Thrills; and A Minor Incident by Badly Drawn Boy Hero? My wife. What you’re reading right now? Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West — by Gregory Maguire; That’s The Way I See It by David Hockney; Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads — by Greil Marcus; and Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung : by Lester Bangs Quality you most enjoy in others? Humor; empathy Recommend a literary magazine. I’ve never read one. (Editor’s note: Maybe he was too busy writing The Creative License. to read magazines?) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan; Until recently I was completely disinterested in Dylan but this book changed my mind. I had long assumed that , though I admired the music, the man was arrogant and withdrawn, the sort of person one would never want to spend ten minutes with. Instead, I discovered that Bob Dylan has all the hallmarks of the quintessential creative person (and I’m surprised that this surprised me). I’d urge you to read the book and see how it strikes you. I believe it has a lot in it for anyone contemplating their own creativity.


First I was struck by how much he knows about music, all sorts of music, from classical to bebop to rap to doo-wop to the cheesiest sort of pop, and is able to extract something useful and inspiring from all of it. Like Picasso, he believed in borrowing from everywhere … but himself.

Secondly, he has always challenged himself not to be successful financially and critically but to constantly grow and branch out in new directions. Except for a period where he admits he was in some sort of creative stupor, he has always been motivated by some flickering notion in the back of his head that slowly grows and blooms as he feeds it. It’s not to ’show the world’ or provoke the industry, but because he is always feeding himself with new influences that spark fresh ideas and directions.

Thirdly, despite the fact that he is such an important maverick, he has deep roots in those that came before. His love for and appreciation of roots blues and folks music has always been the core of his art. He has solid foundations, ones he forged himself, and he has been layering on top of them for fifty years. Reading about his early record collection had me revisiting mine, pulling out Sleepy John Estes, Dave Van Ronk, and Harry Smith’s American Folk Music once again.


Next, I was struck by his enormous generosity. He is lavish in his acknowledgment of all the influences on his art. He talks about what he learned from all sorts of surprising influences, everyone from Frank Sinatra, Jr. to Daniel Lanois.

It was fascinating to hear how he first came to write music, how content he had been to simply play others’ compositions, and how hesitant he was to compromise the body of folk music, sort of like if Horowitz began playing his own piano sonatas rather than Ludwig Van’s. Slowly Dylan began to introduce his own additional lyrics to folk standards and then eventually to create his own from the staff up.

While he was committed and hard working, Dylan never comes off as terribly ambitious. He wants to keep moving forward, to play for larger audiences so he can have new creative opportunities but he never set out to be a superstar. In fact, in his admiration for pop singers and Tin Pan Alley composers, he acknowledges that playing Woody Guthrie songs hardly seemed the road to fame and fortune, even in the folk-mad days of the early 1960s. Even recently, when he has been touring a lot, it’s to stretch himself creatively, to play music publicly that should be played, to shed the nostalgic classic rock trappings and talk to new audiences in new ways. Miles was much the same way. The still-touring members of the Stones, the Beatles, the Who, etc. have no such creative ambitions.

TODD PRUZAN: What state and country are you in right now? New York, United States. Favorite drink? Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. Favorite game? Cribbage or Monopoly. Favorite movie? “Nashville” or “Withnail and I.” Favorite smell? Chocolate or gasoline. Most played iTunes/iPod song? The Trash Can Sinatras, “Trouble Sleeping” (15 times since March 2004, most recently on August 17). Hero? Tibor Kalman. (Editor’s note: I’ll make it easy for those of us who never heard of this guy.) What you’re reading right now? I’m about to begin Tim Winton’s “The Turning.” Quality you most enjoy in others? Storytelling/teaching ability. Recommend a literary magazine. Esopus. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Sean Wilsey: “Oh the Glory of It All”: a crazy-ass memoir by a wonderful guy who’s also a fantastic writer.


JIMMY MARGULIES: What state and country are you in right now? New Jersey/USA Favorite drink? Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea Favorite game? Ping pong Favorite movie? Chinatown (with Jack Nicholson) Favorite smell? New car (if it’s mine) Most played iTunes/iPod song? Now you’re going to embarrass me in front of all these people because I am so uncool that I don’t have an iPod (Editor’s note: Editor thinks Jimmy is awfully cool, iPod or no iPod.) Hero? The lateJeff MacNelly (former editorial cartoonist for Chicago Tribune) What you’re reading right now? A copy of The New Yorker from this past April Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. The only thing I read that remotely qualifies is The New Yorker Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Muckraking (New Press) A collection of some of the most important newspaper and magazine articles which resulted in some form of social reform or change in the US.


SCOTT BATEMAN: What state and country are you in right now? New York City, NY USA Favorite drink? Iced tea Favorite game? Upwords Favorite movie? The Passion of Joan of Arc Favorite smell? Bacon Most played iTunes/iPod song? This week: Deerhoof, “Spirit Ditties of No Tone,” because I just made an animated video for it. Hero?What you’re reading right now? Er, nothing–I haven’t been doing much reading lately. Quality you most enjoy in others? Smartnessositude. Recommend a literary magazine. Noon. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Lydia Davis, Almost No Memory. It made me re-evaluate the whole idea of narrative and what IS a story.


TERRY BAIN: What state and country are you in right now? Easy dumb-ass joke answer: State: of confusion. Country: of origin. Honest answer: Washington State, USA. Favorite drink? Depends very much on my mood. But. Here’s the top three of the moment. 1. Coffee (straight or latte, hot or iced, no sugar please) 2. Lightly sweetened iced green tea (Tazo makes ‘em in the bottle, but it’s easy to make it at home too) 3. Single Malt Scotch (neat) Favorite game? Also very much depends upon my mood. Again, top three. 1. Sorry 2. Hearts 3. Pin the Tail on the Donkey Bonus Least Favorite Games. 1. Candyland 2. Risk 3. Any game in which someone feels as if they absolutely have to win, which usually means I don’t like to play games with extended family. (Editor’s note: I’m noticing Terry does what I did throughout school: I changed the questions to suit what I wanted to talk about. I always had to be a little bit different than everyone else, and maybe this is why I like Terry so much–because you just can’t reign him in.) Favorite movie? Miller’s Crossing; Sex, Lies and Videotape; Lawrence of Arabia Favorite smell? New Baby, New Puppy, New Car Most played iTunes/iPod song? All time: Gotta Get Up from Here – Ellie Lawson, Last Month: The Killers – The Ballad of Michael Valentine, Last Week: Kiss – Prince (I do not know how that happened… I don’t even remember listening to it…) Hero? Good sandwich. Though I prefer a rueben. What you’re reading right now? The Infinite Book, John D. Barrow; Best American Short Stories 2005; Christian Dogmatics. Quality you most enjoy in others? Any quality unlike my own qualities. Therefore the best answer is likely “otherness,” but to simply answer “otherness” seemed too damn flippant for words. Recommend a literary magazine. Gettysburg Review. I’m sometimes in it. And it’s easy on the eyes. The Bellevue Literary Review. Utter unpretentiousness and good quality. Almost unheard of in “literary” “circles.” Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Self-serving answer: You Are a Dog by Terry Bain. It made me a few coppers. And if you buy more copies, it makes me a few more. Other-serving answer: A Dog Year by John Katz. It made me laugh. Katz is very good at looking directly at his own ignorance and stupidity when it comes to canines. Non-dog answer: After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson. When I die I want to come back as Jim Thompson. Or I want him to come back as me. Or something.


MYSTERY TOM: What state and country are you in right now? quiet contemplation, in Singapore. Favorite drink? Bloody Mary. Favorite game? Sports-wise, it’s football (as in “not the NFL version”), and baseball strikes a chord during the play-offs. Both bring out the under-dog spirit. Favorite movie? I’d have to say “Se7en”, for its internal logic. Favorite smell? “Cheap & chic”, by Moschino. Awful packaging, vibrant scent. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I find “private music” plain wrong so I tend to utilise mine for BBC podcasts and Bill Hicks’ comedy. Hero? Max Weber. What you’re reading right now? “Experience”, my first Martin Amis venture. Quality you most enjoy in others? Passionate intellect. (Is that two?) Recommend a literary magazine. Times Literary Supplement. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Gillian Rose’s “Love’s Work” – a philosophical memoir that brings new meaning to “staking your life”. (Editor’s note: At the bottom of Mystery Tom’s email is his Myers-Briggs Type: INTJ. I’ve not thought to include mine in emails so I’ll do it here: INFJ.)


DAMIAN McNICHOLL: What state and country are you in right now? Pennsylvania, US Favorite drink? Any Australian shiraz Favorite game? Monopoly Favorite movie? The Crying Game Favorite smell? Honeysuckle or freshly brewed coffee Most played iTunes/iPod song? Don’t listen to iTunes Hero? None: I think hero worship is an American trait that Europeans don’t go in for so much. What you’re reading right now? Harold Pinter: Complete Works (1971-1981) Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. Void magazine Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliott. Small town life, great characterization and drama.


ROY KESEY: What state and country are you in right now? Beijing, China Favorite drink? Coffee Favorite game? Futbol Favorite movie? A tie: Devils on the Doorstep; Jackass (The Movie) Favorite smell? Coffee, bacon Most played iTunes/iPod song? Still trying to figure out how to work toaster Hero? Raymond Carver, Robin Hood What you’re reading right now? Her Privates, We – Frederic Manning (Editor’s note: Ha! I thought you made this up, but no, it’s right here.) Quality you most enjoy in others? Kindness, garlic Recommend a literary magazine. Ninth Letter: your mind, she will be a’blowing. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Gass – In the Heart of the Heart of the Country – He just keeps doing things, over and over, that I was really pretty sure couldn’t be done.


TAO LIN: What state and country are you in right now? New York, America Favorite drink? Coffee Favorite game? A made-up game with no winners Favorite movie? Yi Yi, and Oldboy Favorite smell? Air that is cold and doesn’t smell like anything. Most played iTunes/iPod song? My iPod broke, but a song I like is Ben Moves to California by The Broadways. Hero? I am against myself having a hero. What you’re reading right now? Like a Fiery Elephant (biography of B.S. Johnson), Burning Babies (by Noah Cicero), Crawling at Night (by Nani Power), and one other book that I’ve already forgotten the title and plot of. Quality you most enjoy in others? Meekness, playfulness. Recommend a literary magazine. Juked (Hi, Susan, it’s online so you could just link: Juked.com; isn’t it pretty?) (Editor’s note: Gorgeous. Why haven’t I heard of it before?) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Wide Eyed by Trinie Dalton. I like it because when I’m reading it I feel unbored, alive, and a little excited; not sexually but in terms of aliveness.


JAMES R. SPRING: (Editor’s note: Hold on, before you read any further, you have to click on James’ link. That’s about the coolest “book trailer” I’ve ever seen.) What state and country are you in right now? California, USA Favorite drink? Effen vodka and soda, mainly because I like to tell the bartender to “give me an Effen vodka and soda. Favorite game? Omaha Hi-Lo Favorite movie? BIG FISH Favorite smell? Orange trees in blossom. Most played iTunes/iPod song? TIME OF NO REPLY, Nick Drake. Hero? Joseph Campbell, but for intellectual not spiritual reasons. What you’re reading right now? Finally, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, but because I meant to read it two years ago not because Oprah’s making me. Quality you most enjoy in others? Wisdom. I know far too many intelligent idiots. Recommend a literary magazine. NARRATIVE MAGAZINE (but I’m poised to give yours a go now, too.) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. THE CHURCH OF DEAD GIRLS, by poet Stephen Dobyns a compelling social criticism and literary novel hidden inside a psycho-thriller dust jacket. An allegory with plenty of sustenance for Stephen King fans, and the blue plate special for readers of contemporary lit.


CLAIRE ZULKEY: What state and country are you in right now? Illinois, USA Favorite drink? Diet Pepsi Favorite game? Baseball (to watch) Favorite movie? I have no one favorite but I’ll say “The Thin Man” Favorite smell? Again, no one favorite but onions sauteeing in butter is a good one. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Hmm…it depends week to week! “For Tomorrow” by Blur pops up a lot. Hero? I don’t really have one but for brownie points I’ll say my mom. What you’re reading right now? Homework! (I’m getting my Masters in Creative writing.) Also magazines that I’m catching up on. Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humor. Recommend a literary magazine. Pindeldyboz. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The last book I read really quickly and loved was “My Friend Leonard” by James Frey–of course he’s all over the place now that his first book is an Oprah book but I actually think his second one is better.


HANNAH TINTI: What state and country are you in right now? New York, USA. Favorite drink? Tea. Favorite game? Scrabble. Favorite movie? That’s a hard one. I’d have to say Star Wars. Favorite smell? The ocean. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I only have a record player. Most often listened to LP is: John Coltrane: My Favorite Things. Hero? My grandmother, Hester Mary O’Sullivan Lewis, who came to this country when she was sixteen years old, worked as a domestic, had 23 grandchildren, and threw drinks in people’s faces if they wore orange on Saint Patrick’s Day. What you’re reading right now? Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke Quality you most enjoy in others? Humor. And forgiveness. Recommend a literary magazine. One Story. Full disclosure: I am the editor. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Italian Boy: A Tale of Murder and Body Snatching in 1830s London by Sarah Wise. This non-fiction title sounds grisly, but the book provides a fascinating history of the city of London, while at the same time reading like a suspenseful murder-mystery. And it helped me enormously in research for my current novel. Thank you, Sarah Wise!


LAUREN BARATZ-LOGSTED: What state and country are you in right now? CT, USA Favorite drink? Lime Diet Pepsi and Jake’s Fauly Shiraz Favorite game? Sudoku Favorite movie? The Piano Favorite smell? Peonies Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t own an iPod – I’m a tech-not! Hero? Bill Clinton What you’re reading right now? The English Teacher, Lily King Quality you most enjoy in others? Intelligence Recommend a literary magazine. Agni Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Queen of the South, by Arturo Perez-Reverte – I love the way he writes women


TODD ZUNIGA: What state and country are you in right now? New York, US(of)A Favorite drink? Ultimate vodka on the rocks, no twist Favorite game? Katamari Damacy, or Scrabble Favorite movie? City of God Favorite smell? A.M. citrus of a sensational damsel (undistressed) Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Luckiest Guy (on the Lower East Side) by Magnetic Fields Hero? Three: Pedro Martinez, Tobias Wolff, John Leary What you’re reading right now? The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender Quality you most enjoy in others? Literacy Recommend a literary magazine. Opium Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Nude Men by Amanda Filipacchi. Like any good book, the best you can do is to hand it to someone you love and say, “Read this.” And hope that love holds after they do.


KEVIN DOLGIN: What state and country are you in right now? Paris, France Favorite drink? Scotch Whisky. Favorite game? Chess. Favorite movie? Hmm. It depends. Maybe “Withnail and I”. Favorite smell? The Corsican countryside. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Probably something by Ben Folds. Hero? Hmm. There are the obvious ones, but people like Mandela do tend to stand out, you know? What you’re reading right now? I realized a few months ago that I had forgotten most of my Roman history, so I’ve been reading a fair amount of history books. Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty. Recommend a literary magazine. Boulevard. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “Notable American Women”, by Ben Marcus. Undoubtedly the most original book I’ve read in the past twelve months.


MARY McCLUSKEY: What state and country are you in right now? Gloucestershire, UK Favorite drink? white wine. Dry. Lots of it. Favorite game? Blimey. I like to watch soccer, American football, tennis. I can’t play any outdoor game. I can play chess, though. And Scrabble. Favorite movie? The French Lieutenant’s Woman Favorite smell? Apples baking, a hot toddy made with cognac, roses, lavendar. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Since the Scorcese movie I’ve been playing Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone constantly. Hero? Joan Didion, for writing about it and getting it right. What you’re reading right now? Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and a bunch of old copies of Granta I found in a charity shop. Quality you most enjoy in others? humour, kindness, intelligence. Recommend a literary magazine. NightTrain, the dear soon-to-be departed InkPot, The London Magazine. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. John Fowles – The Magus. It’s intriguing enough to read like a mystery, yet is beautifully written with well-drawn characters. It asks big questions (doesn’t answer them, though) and can be re-read over and over and still produce surprises.


DAPHNE BUTER: What state and country are you in right now? In the Netherlands, I can smell Amsterdam if I inhale deep enough, which I don’t. Favorite drink? Black coffee to keep me going. Rum with Cola when I have to celebrate I’m still here. Favorite game? Life Favorite movie? Movies that make me leave the cinema with the feeling I am the hero of that movie. You know what I mean? When I was little I once saw King-Kong. When the movie was over I walked on the streets of Amsterdam and then I couldn’t stop myself from feeling big and hairy and colossal. I felt so strong. I sometimes still have that. My life is very much like a reverie. I need things like movies to escape from reality. Favorite smell? The smell of salt and crabs and fish, mingled in the breeze that hovers in my head. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Jazz music is always cutting my heart. Sting does the same. Mozart too. Music scares the hell out of me because it opens my doors of passion. I want to make love right away. Hero? Every human being that succeeds in being honest in this creepy world. And Children in common, because they are forced to get used to the wickedness of adults in common. What you’re reading right now? I sometimes sneak to the attic and read the manuscript my husband is writing. His manuscript is a combustion of words. It is, in a way, about the Armageddon of his life. I sometimes peek into his never-ending manuscript and then I have the feeling that finally we’ll all end up in the labyrinth that our life’s are slowly spinning around us. Quality you most enjoy in others? Being honest and passionate. Love and respect, man. Guts to be honest about feelings. People who don’t hide their beast behind position and table-manors. Recommend a literary magazine. NIGHT TRAIN and FRIGG MAGAZINE Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Oh, just read John Fante and Sylvia Plath. They didn’t need much words to say it all.


DENNIS MAHAGIN: What state and country are you in right now? Washington State, U.S.A Favorite drink? Rock Star Cola mixed with Mr. Pibb Favorite game? Texas Hold ‘Em Favorite movie? 21 Grams Favorite smell? Sage mixed with T-storm cordite and leaf mulch Most played iTunes/iPod song? “The Argument” by Fugazi Hero? A tough one to narrow down. I think I’ll go with the freaky Perma-Grin Jester on those latest batch of Burger King commercials. He so inspires me! What you’re reading right now?“Setting Free The Bears” by John Irving Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of Humor Recommend a literary magazine. “Slipstream” Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “What We Carry” a poetry collection by Dorianne Laux. This woman is such an amazing writer. She is like a tasty three-layer-combo of Carver, Carolyn Forche and Lynn Emanuel. A poet’s poet, no doubt about it.


RIC MARION: What state and country are you in right now? Lapeer, Michigan Favorite drink? Coffee / Glenfiddich Scotch Favorite game? Pinocle, Canadian Football Favorite movie? Favorite all time – Valley of the Dolls (yeah, yeah, I know) plus Zefferelli’s Romeo & Juliet (Editor’s note: When I was in high school, we needed a permission slip to watch this because of Olivia Hussey’s breasts), Donnie Darko Favorite smell? Coconut, fresh water, salt water Most played iTunes/iPod song? No ipod, Bob Seger, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks Hero? my Uncle Jack and my Uncle Gly What you’re reading right now? Colorado Kid, by Stephen King Quality you most enjoy in others? not taking themselves, or life, too seriously Recommend a literary magazine.Recommend a book and say why you liked it. On Writing, by Stephen King. Easily accessible guide to writing, with good tips wrapped up in a great narrative.


WAYNE YANG: What state and country are you in right now? New York, USA Favorite drink? Vietnamese iced coffee. That combination of chickory coffee, condensed milk and ice: fattening but delectable. Favorite game? Summer biathlon Favorite movie? The Godfather. “Luca Brasi swims with the fishes.” Favorite smell? Central Park after a rain. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I live in the Big Apple; I don’t buy Apple. Hero? My parents have always been my heroes, even more so now that they battle bravely through my father’s illness. What you’re reading right now? Walker Evans, by James R. Mellow Quality you most enjoy in others? Empathy Recommend a literary magazine. Shenandoah Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning.”


BOB ARTER: What state and country are you in right now? CA, USA Favorite drink? Lemonade Favorite game? Baseball Favorite movie? Dr. Strangelove Favorite smell? Diesel fuel (they spray it on the field for weed killer every spring before Little League season starts) Most played iTunes/iPod song? I own no such such item, but right now…tie between Herbie Mann’s Comin’ Home & KD Lang’s Luck in My Eye Hero? You (Editor’s note: Me? Really? Me?) What you’re reading right now? Zoetrope stories (at the moment, Xujun’s memoir) Quality you most enjoy in others? Loyalty Recommend a literary magazine. Pindeldyboz Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Tailor of Panama – It features the only guy on Earth who’s dumber than me – Oops…who’s dumber than I am dumb: Make that “dumber than I.”


RAMESH AVADHANI: What state and country are you in right now? Bangalore, India Favorite drink? Rum and coke Favorite game? Cricket Favorite movie? Holland’s Opus Favorite smell? Have you crushed eucalyptus leaves in your handand smelt it? Most played iTunes/iPod song? I love all of Roxette’s songs. Hero? M.K. Gandhi What you’re reading right now? Bech by John Updike – mythird reading. It’s about a writer who is worried by the fact that he has not written a book in the last ten years and is sent on that vague trip ‘cultural exchange’ to eastern European countries and how he is felicitated there. Hilarious and insightful. The psyche of a writer is explored in astounding detail. Quality you most enjoy in others? Transparency Recommend a literary magazine. None. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Bhagvad Gita – I have made it essential daily reading. Keeps me sane in an apparently insane and unfair world. Shows me my insignificant and significant place inHis Grand Scheme. Reassures me that all things happen for a purpose.


ZETT AGUADO: What state and country are you in right now? Dubai, United Arab Emirates Favorite drink? Michelada (Lime juice and cold beer in an icy frosted glass rimmed with sea salt) Favorite game? Backgammon Favorite movie? All That Jazz Favorite smell? My baby daughter Most played iTunes/iPod song? Let’s Get it On, Marvin Gaye Hero? My husband What you’re reading right now? Alice Munro’s ‘Runaway’ Quality you most enjoy in others? Quiet strength and a good sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. Ploughshares Recommend a book and say why you liked it. ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ by Su Tong. Three novellas all rich in language with fantastic, mind-spinning plots. Characters are dreamy and strong.


GAIL SIEGEL: What state and country are you in right now? Illinois, USA Favorite drink? Diet 7up with 4-5 raspberries tossed in. Favorite game? Ping-pong because I’m good at it. Favorite movie? Well, my favorite movie scene is the swordfight in The Princess Bride. It’s harder to pick a movie. I sure liked Moulin Rouge. (Editor’s note: Oh yeah, that’s a huge hit in my house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it.) Favorite smell? Lilacs. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t have an iPod! Hero? Sebastio Salgado. What you’re reading right now? Saturday by Ian McEwan. Quality you most enjoy in others? A sense of humor. Recommend a literary magazine. Post Road. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. In her novel Anywhere But Here, Mona Simpson does an unsurpassed job of creating characters with more layers of complexity than filo dough.


KATRINA DENZA: What state and country are you in right now? North Carolina, USA Favorite drink? Tea or water. Favorite game? Alphabet Memory, Toss the Pigs, or Pictionary. Favorite movie? Life is Beautiful. Favorite smell? Lilac. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Lately I’ve been listening to Sia, though not on these gadgets. Hero? Nelson Mandela. What you’re reading right now? “The Wife,” Meg Wolitzer Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty. Recommend a literary magazine. Just one? So hard to recommend just one. I love about twenty-five to thirty of them. Do you want me to list them all? Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “A Thousand Years of Prayers” by Yuyin Liconsistently beautiful and illuminating.


CLAUDIA SMITH: What state and country are you in right now? TX, USA Favorite drink? Coffee. Favorite game? Scrabble and I Never. Favorite movie? What, you mean one single favorite movie? I have about fifty. Favorite smell? Baby head. My son’s baby head smells like Pansy shampoo and clean baby. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t have iTunes/iPod. But I will someday. Hero? Hmm. I guess Lincoln, because he was so sad and so good. What you’re reading right now? I hate to admit this, but I’m not reading a grown up book right now. Someone gave my son a set of Curious George books for his birthday. The last book I read was Curious George’s ABCs. I read it to my son this morning. But I have plenty of books I’m planning to read. Next on my list are The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry, because I haven’t read it in years and I just sent it to a good friend, and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Quality you most enjoy in others? Wit. Recommend a literary magazine. Hobart. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Wuthering Heights. I think Virginia Woolf said it best. “It’s as if Emily Bronte could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality.”


KIM CHINQUEE: What state and country are you in right now? Michigan, USA Favorite drink? Ice water with lemon. Favorite game? Scrabble. Favorite movie? Life Is Beautiful. Favorite smell? Fresh hay. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t have iPod. Hero? Can I skip this question? What you’re reading right now? Christine Schutt’s Nightwork. Quality you most enjoy in others? Sincerity. Recommend a literary magazine. Noon. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm of the Hand Stories. It’s just gorgeous.


GODSHALK EAKINS: What state and country are you in right now? MA, USA Favorite drink? First one. Favorite game? Truth or Dare. Favorite movie? Last month: Enduring Love, Born into Brothels, The Holy Girl. Favorite smell? Rotting leaves and rain. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Give It Away, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hero? Writers. What you’re reading right now? Love and Death in the American Novel; Lot’s Daughters, Sex, Redemption, and Women’s Quest for Authority. Quality you most enjoy in others? Curiosity. Recommend a literary magazine. Yours. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Like Subjects, Love Objects, Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference, by Jessica Benjamin. The woman is a genius.


JIM RULAND: What state and country are you in right now? California, USA Favorite drink? Guinness Extra Cold Favorite game? Loteria de la Mujer Favorite movie? Miller’s Crossing Favorite smell? Pomegranate Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Ode to Street Violence” Smogtown Hero? Emil Minty What you’re reading right now? Simplify by Tod Goldberg, Bluebirds Used to Sing in the Choir by Joe Meno and Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel Quality you most enjoy in others? Nakedness Recommend a literary magazine. Like Water Burning Recommend a book and say why you liked it. God Jr. by Dennis Cooper. Because I started reading it a second time a less than a week after I finished it.


JIM TOMLINSON: What state and country are you in right now? KY, USA Favorite drink? Diet Rite Tangerine Favorite game? FreeCell Favorite movie? Variable, right now The Hours Favorite smell? Creosote (Editor’s note: must Google this word.) Most played iTunes/iPod song? Throw Me a Rope (Gillian Welch) Hero? James Blake What you’re reading right now? The Story and Its Writer (2nd edition) edited by Ann Charters Quality you most enjoy in others? Forgiveness Recommend a literary magazine. Five Points Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Working, by Studs Terkel. What a privilege to see so clearly inside the working lives of others, the humor, the pain, the yearnings so honestly transcribed onto the page in such unique voices.


GIRIJA TROPP: What state and country are you in right now? Melbourne, Australia Favorite drink? Chai tea with extra strength ginger Favorite game? Love thy neighbor Favorite movie? Howl’s Moving Castle (Ghibli Studios) Favorite smell? Rain Most played iTunes/iPod song? Don’t use the stuff Hero? Do I have to answer this question? I’ve got all my writer friends on the same pedestal. What you’re reading right now? lost thoughts of soldiers by Delia Falconer Quality you most enjoy in others? Patience! Recommend a literary magazine. I guess this has to be one that hasn’t pubbed one of my stories because really, I’m biased :) McSweeneys is a fav Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Dan Chaon – You remind me of me – Because I wish I’d written it (which is usually the litmus test)


DAN WICKETT: What state and country are you in right now? Westland, MI Favorite drink? Coca-Cola Favorite game? Hockey Favorite movie? Blood Simple Favorite smell? Ribs cooking Most played iTunes/iPod song? Ah,the shame – no iPod Hero? My father What you’re reading right now? Philip Deaver’s Silent Retreats Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty Recommend a literary magazine. Just one???? One Story Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Paschal’s By the Light of the Jukebox. Short story collection from a few years back that just has characters and narrators that certainly aren’t overused – a dying dog, a runt puppy thinking from the owner’s freezer where it’s being stored, an emergency room surgeon considering how easy it would be to kill the multiple visitor on his table, …


CARRIE HOFFMAN: What state and country are you in right now? Mississippi, USA Favorite drink? Coca Cola Favorite game? Pictionary Favorite movie? Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves Favorite smell? My arm, about 3/4 of the way up, between the wrist and elbow. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t have an iPod. One day I will get out of graduate school and after I buy a flat panel monitor, a fancy television, a bunch of new clothes, shoes, and patio furniture, maybe I’d get an iPod. Then again, MP3s just don’t sound as good as CD-quality. Hero? I think Mariah Carey told me that the hero lies in me. What you’re reading right now? Ann Beattie’s Where You’ll Find Me and Other Stories Quality you most enjoy in others? Joke-telling abilities Recommend a literary magazine. Mississippi Review! Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Morgesons by Elizabeth Stoddard- the character is amazingly complex, the story is creepy and obsessive, and it simply hasn’t gotten enough recognition. Stoddard was probably the best woman writing at the time.


ELLEN MEISTER: What state and country are you in right now? NY, USA. Favorite drink? Diet Coke. Can’t even imagine living without it. Favorite game? Love Scrabble and am unbeatable at Pictionary if partnered with my husband. Lately I’ve been fairly wacky over this computer game called Book Worm. Favorite movie? Tie between Annie Hall and The Producers. Favorite smell? My kids when they’re sleeping. Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t have either of those things. Hero? Rosa Parks. What you’re reading right now? Two very different books–Confessions of Super Mom by Melanie Lynne Hauser and Big Lonesome by Jim Ruland. Quality you most enjoy in others? Adoration. Recommend a literary magazine. Too many faves to name one. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson because it made laugh and cry and really earned it.


MELVIN STERNE: What state and country are you in right now? Florida, USA. Favorite drink? Espresso. Preferably a mocha, though a strawberry, blackberry, and banana smoothie is a close second. Favorite game? Chess. Favorite movie? The African Queen. Favorite smell? Cedar. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Tougher Than the Rest (Springsteen). Hero? Raymond Carver. What you’re reading right now? Quicksand by Nella Larsen. Quality you most enjoy in others? niceness. Recommend a literary magazine. Carve. Besides that I publish it, we try hard to be the successor to Story. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Crooked River Burning by Mark Winegardner. The perfect novel for my generation. Two almost-lovers tripping through everything that was anything in Cleveland from 1955 through 1973. Great characters. Winegardner nails it.


JENNIFER PRADO: What state and country are you in right now? Brooklyn, NYC, USA. Favorite drink? Capiroska. Favorite game? World Cup Soccer. Favorite movie? Fellini’s, 8 1/2 Favorite smell? My grade school gym. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Right to Be Wrong, Joss Stone. Hero? Christianne Amanpour. What you’re reading right now? The Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevalier. Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty. Recommend a literary magazine. Small Spiral Notebook. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, because of the dialog and for the minor characters who appear and reappear and for Ignatius being Ignatius.


PASHA MALLA: What state and country are you in right now? dishevelled. Country: Canada. Favorite drink? Juice. (Editor’s note: Pasha, this is not very descriptive. This could be pomegranite or tobacco juice–and now you’ve made me wonder about the spelling of pomegranite!) Favorite game? With a ball: Basketball. With a puck: hockey. Favorite movie? This year? So far, 3-Iron. Favorite smell? Victory. Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Truly Great Thing” – Sebadoh Hero? ? What you’re reading right now? RZA’s Wu-Tang Manual and The Fight by Norman Mailer Quality you most enjoy in others? Superpowers. Recommend a literary magazine. Hobart. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. Because it’s amazing.


PIA Z. EHRHARDT: What state and country are you in right now? Houston, Texas Favorite drink? Ramos gin fizz Favorite game? solitaire Favorite movie? Rushmore, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, To Kill A Mockingbird Favorite smell? vanilla beans, bergamot, tar, tuberose Most played iTunes/iPod song? Unmade Bed – Sonic Youth Hero? This week? Joan Didion, for writing about the unspeakable. What you’re reading right now? South Of The Border, West Of The Sun – Murakami Quality you most enjoy in others? Storytelling gifts Recommend a literary magazine. Virginia Quarterly Review Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “What You’ve Been Missing” – Janet Desaulniers – this SSC has ruined me. The stories go so deep into character, pain, truth and beauty. They’ve stained me, and made me worry about the density of my own writing.


HUBBY: What state and country are you in right now? New York, USA Favorite drink? beer… at least I seem to drink it a lot, or maybe coffee Favorite game? Indoors – Shogun/Civilization III, outdoors – soccer, to watch – football Favorite movie? Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Withnail and I Favorite smell? Brian or Jack (Editor’s note: These are our dogs, not random men.) Most played iTunes/iPod song? “All Shook Up” – Jeff Beck Group, “Tie Your Mother Down” – Queen Paul Rogers, “I wish my wife would buy me an iPod” – me (Editor’s note: It totally depends on whether or not your wife gets curtains for Christmas.) Hero? Brian May, Caesar Augustus What you’re reading right now? The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – Umberto Eco Quality you most enjoy in others? Intelligent humor, buying me stuff. Recommend a literary magazine. ummmm… sorry, does Guitar One count? Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Well, as close as I get to contemporary literature is “The Restraint of Beasts” – Magnus Mills. It’s about 3 guys buiding fences, but apart from that I can’t describe it because it would give it away, but it’s only 210 pages, so go read it yourself. For a good LONG read try Neil Stephenson’s “Baroque Cycle”, a fantastic tale, clever, well researched, and you’ll learn a lot. For silly brilliant fun, “Good Omens”, Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman. For looking smart by reading the best book ever written, “The Brothers Karamazov” -Dostoevsky.


JOHN LEARY: What state and country are you in right now? San Francisco, California (Editor’s note: Why are you not in Shanghai?) Favorite drink? Ecru Favorite game? “Eat your peas.” Favorite movie? Any movie with trains. Favorite smell? Chili paper Most played iTunes/iPod song? Mandarin II, lesson 17 Hero? Hiro! What you’re reading right now? “Improve Your Quiz-Taking Abilities In 14 Steps” and Jim Ruland’s The Big Lonesome. Quality you most enjoy in others? Tallness or eye contact but not, you know, in a weird way. Recommend a literary magazine. Opiummagazine.print or .com Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The phone book. Half the pages are yellow and half are white, depending on what sort of listing you are looking for. Other books could learn a lot from the phone book.


MYFANWY COLLINS: What state and country are you in right now? NH, USA Favorite drink? Vodka and grapefruit juice, red wine, coffee, or water (depends on the time of day) Favorite game? Scrabble Favorite movie? Manhattan Favorite smell? Lavender Most played iTunes/iPod song? I don’t use either of those. I listened to a mixed tape circa 1995 in my car the other day, though. Hero? Atticus Finch or Anne Shirley What you’re reading right now? Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison Quality you most enjoy in others? Intelligence Recommend a literary magazine. There are so many: Missouri Review, Black Warrior Review, Night Train, Swivel, Lilies and Cannonballs, Ink Pot, etc. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami because it was so expertly, exquisitely written with heart, soul, and empathy.


A.C. KOCH: What state and country are you in right now? Zacatecas, Mexico Favorite drink? Johnny Walker Red on the rocks, with a splash of mineral water Favorite game? venison Favorite movie? The original Star Wars trilogy blew my mind as a kid. And Kyszlowski’s Bleu-Blanc-Rouge trilogy blows my mind as an adult. Favorite smell? Fresh cut garlic. Simmering garlic. Then traces of garlic on my fingertips for the rest of the evening. Most played iTunes/iPod song? Does my own music count? I was in a band called Tiger Beat when I was in college, and recently invested thousands of hours digitizing our old recordings from punk rock clubs, open mike night, and random jams in the backyard shed. Pure teenage rock apotheosis, before Nirvana was Nirvana. Fifteen years later, I can’t peel myself away. Hero? Joyce Carol Oates What you’re reading right now? Don DeLillo, Underworld. Elmore Leonard, Glitz. Dave Mitchell, Number9Dream. Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road. Quality you most enjoy in others? Suffering fools gladly. Recommend a literary magazine. ZACATECAS: A Review of Contemporary Word Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Hunger- Knut Hamsun. A Parisian From Kansas, by Philippe Tapon. A novel about a guy who is forced to write a novel about an acquaintance dying of aids. It’s as much about the agony of writing as the agony of dying. A mirror-gallery of self-reflection and literary allusion, spiced with depravity and dashed with pathos.


BRUCE BAUMAN: What state and country are you in right now? This morning LA; Now Florida. Favorite drink? Vanilla egg cream during the day; vodka at night Favorite game? to play: tennis. to watch: baseball. Favorite movie? of the last year: Around The Bend. all time, whew, way too many but Duck Soup came into my head first. Favorite smell? My wife’s body. Most played iTunes/iPod song? don’t have one. but most played song these days is Television’s Little Johnny Jewel from The BlowUp. Hero? who I never met- Kafka. otherwise my mom and my wife. (shoot me, i’m a henpecked mama’s boy…) What you’re reading right now? What you’re reading right now? Humboldt’s Gift from look out Saul Bellow.. some very goodstudent papers. And great new, slightly raw, not yet published work from Joy Nicholson and Rachel Resnick. Quality you most enjoy in others? Kindness and empathy. Recommend a literary magazine. Black Clock. (yes, yes, i’m an editor there.) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Hunger- Knut Hamsun. One of the great novels of all time. Influenced most of the great writers of theof thelast century and not enough people now are reading him.The prose is spare. The content brilliantly insightful and darkly funny.


DARLIN’ NEAL: What state and country are you in right now? CA, USA Favorite drink? Pub Beer in London, I think it was Carlsberg. Favorite game? Hiking with Catfish. Favorite movie? Movies, oh it changes so much. I loved the HBO Angels In America. Favorite smell? my dog Catfish’s ears Most played iTunes/iPod song? Something by the White Stripes Hero? First, MLK Jr. Then Bob Dylan What you’re reading right now? finally I’m reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Quality you most enjoy in others? Honesty coupled with a sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. Puerto Del Sol Recommend a book and say why you liked it. I recommend Kevin Canty’s Honeymoon and Other Stories. They hit you in the gut with their power and perfection.


RUSTY BARNES: What state and country are you in right now? Revere MA, USA Favorite drink? Pepsi Favorite game? NBA 2K5 on the Playstation–I could lose hours. Favorite movie? At the moment: Legends of the Fall. Favorite smell? sea air Most played iTunes/iPod song? Tied right now: Pepper, by the Butthole Surfers; Mandatory on the Attack, Centro-Matic; Woman King, Iron & Wine Hero? Don Mattingly. It took me years to forgive Tino Martinez for playing his position after he retired. They should have retired 1st base when he retired. What you’re reading right now? Mysteries of My Father, by Thomas Fleming; Magic of Blood, by Dagoberto Gilb, Brutal Language of Love, by Alicia Erian Quality you most enjoy in others? perseverance Recommend a literary magazine. They all need your support. With that said, I’m reading Swink and my back issues of Quick Fiction right now. (Editor’s note: Very generous of Rusty not to answer Night Train.) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Shine Hawk, by Charlie Smith. It’s impossible to share the extent of my admiration for the sumptuous prose in this novel. Just find it if you can and read it.


JORDAN ROSENFELD: What state and country are you in right now? CA, USA Favorite drink? Sparkling water with lime Favorite game? Scrabble. Outdoor game, Capture the Flag. Favorite movie? That changes all the time. Right now? Garden State or Rushmore. Favorite smell? Freesias Most played iTunes/iPod song? Anything by Beth Orton Hero? Bill Moyers What you’re reading right now? The Dog of the Marriage, Amy Hempel Quality you most enjoy in others? Integrity Recommend a literary magazine. SmokeLong Quarterly Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s a love story that’s also philosophical, theoretical and profound.


TOM WILLIAMS: What state and country are you in right now? Arkansas, USA Favorite drink? Guinness from a Dublin tap Favorite game? Basketball Favorite movie? Manhattan Favorite smell? Nag champa incense Most played iTunes/iPod song? Toots and the Maytals’s “Pressure Drop” Hero? Marvelous Marvin Hagler What you’re reading right now? James Lee Burke’s Last Car to Elysian Fields, George Singleton’s NOVEL, Too many intro to creative writing stories Quality you most enjoy in others? Recklessness Recommend a literary magazine. RIVER CITY (Editor’s note: Boy is Tom humble, doesn’t even recommend his own magazine: ARKANSAS REVIEW) Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Charles Portis’s DOG OF THE SOUTH (or anything for that matter by Portis): Because you’ll never encounter a cast of characters as varied and funny as those in DOG, because Portis is an Arkansan and should be legendary, because it contains the line Symes puts Shakespeare in the shithouse, and because there is no funnier road novel that I know of.


ROBIN SLICK: What state and country are you in right now? Pennsylvania, USA Favorite drink? Sake Favorite game? Scrabble Favorite movie? A Clockwork Orange Favorite smell? Vanilla musk Most played iTunes/iPod song? Of Bow and Drum – Adrian Belew Hero? John Lennon What you’re reading right now? Breakfast of Champions (again!) Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humor Recommend a literary magazine. The Believer Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Ha ha – Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. A brilliant collection of short stories which combine the absurd with deep, thought provoking narration and subtle, cynical humor.


ME: What state and country are you in right now? NY, USA Favorite drink? pickle juice Favorite game? Risk Favorite movie? Waiting for Guffman, Raising Arizona, Napoleon Dynamite Favorite smell? rain, mud, tobacco flower, wet kitten fur Most played iTunes/iPod song? Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill Hero? Desmond Tutu What you’re reading right now? Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett Quality you most enjoy in others? playfulness Recommend a literary magazine. WRITERS ASK Recommend a book and say why you liked it. William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow (because my dear friend Pia gave it to me and she knows I love that tender space between heartbreak and hope, love and loss).

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Henderson October 9, 2006 at 12:11 pm

Hey, guys, if anyone wants to continue the quiz in the comments section, go for it! Everyone’s welcome to play!

Reply

Mark Bastable November 8, 2006 at 10:54 am

What state and country are you in right now? London, UK

Favorite drink? Pinot Grigio

Favorite game? Texas Hold ‘Em

Favorite movie? Quills

Favorite smell? Nutmeg

Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Stupidly Happy” – XTC

Hero? I don’t really have any. If pushed, Pablo Picasso.

What you’re reading right now? Well, I was going to say ‘Anansi Boys’ but now I’ve seen ‘The Breakfast of Champions’ mentioned I think I’ll start reading that again (again).

Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of humour

Recommend a literary magazine Oh, I dunno – ‘Granta’

Recommend a book and say why you liked it. “The Confederacy of Dunces” – proof that a protagonist doesn’t have to be sympathetic, just compelling.

Reply

Michael D. Williams July 16, 2007 at 5:44 pm

What state and country are you in right now? Oklahoma Favorite drink? Iced Tea, Mexican beer with lime and a salted rim. Favorite game? Dominoes movie? The Searchers John Wayne at his very very best Favorite smell? Mint Most played iTunes/iPod song? Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) Tim O’Brien. What you’re reading right now? Outer Dark By Cormac McCarthy Quality you most enjoy in others? Love of life Recommend a literary magazine. Only read fly fishing magazines. Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Worst Hard Time. IT’s about the Dust bowel and the people who stuck with the land. No matter what you are going through it pales to the hell that they were subjected to on a daily basis.

Reply

Susan Henderson July 16, 2007 at 10:50 pm

All riiigghhht, Michael. It’s nice to see your answers here. I’m glad to know anyone who likes Tim O’Brien and salted rims. I might just read that Dust Bowl book. Thanks for the recommendation.

Anyone else who’d like to take the fabulous writers’ pop quiz, jump right in. The quiz is never over, and it’s not just for writers anymore.

Reply

Cheryl Snell August 10, 2007 at 10:20 am

What state and country are you in right now? MD, USA
Favorite drink? Mango lassi
Favorite game? Social lying
Favorite movie? Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Favorite smell? chocolate cake baking
Most played iTunes/iPod song? Diana Krall, From This Moment On
Hero? Dad
What you’re reading right now? Sugar Street, by Naguib Mahfouz
Quality you most enjoy in others? Sense of the ridiculous
Recommend a literary magazine Red River Review
Recommend a book and say why you liked it. Open Secrets, short stories by Alice Munro, because of her seamless transitions and the fact that she knows everything.

Reply

Susan Henderson August 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Cheryl, thanks for taking the quiz! I don’t know the book or the movie you mentioned. I’ll have to check them out.

Reply

Michael McIntyre May 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

What state and country are you in right now? Charleston, SC

Favorite drink? Sweet Tea

Favorite game? Darts

Favorite movie? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Favorite smell? puerco pibil

Most played iTunes/iPod song? “Oasis” by Amanda Palmer

Hero? Wesley Gibson

What you’re reading right now? The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 1

Quality you most enjoy in others? wicked sarcastic wit.

Recommend a literary magazine. Cemetery Dance

Recommend a book and say why you liked it. The Ruins by Scott Smith. It’s frightening on so many levels. It’s supernatural and archaic. It explores what we do to each other and what is sometimes necessary to do to protect ourselves and the ones we are determined to protect. Basically scary as all get out.

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