Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Andrew Faulkner

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June 1, 2013 - Andrew Faulkner (Need Machine, Coach House Books 2013) participates in Open Book's WAR Series: Writers As Readers. The series gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Andrew is Open Book: Toronto's June 2013 Writer in Residence.


The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Goblins in the Castle. Granny Pinchbottom FTW!

A book that made me cry:
I don’t generally cry from reading books. But an old roommate once threw a copy of The Turn of the Screw that hit me in the nose and it lead to some eye-watering. And I got a little misty when flipping through a collected William Blake at my mom’s house and came across some marginalia my dad (who is dead) wrote during his university days….

The first adult book I read:
I’m not really sure what an adult book is. For example, I’m pretty sure a book like Alligator Pie is more captivating than 80 percent of the titles I could buy at the nearest Chapters. I grew up reading Dragonlance novels — fantasy/adventure-type stuff, but they really taught me the value (and surprising rarity) in a well-composed story and in crafting one clear sentence after another. I recall reading Fahrenheit 451 in grade school a year before everyone else did and I walked around like a smug little shit because of that fact for about a week afterwards.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Letters to Wendy’s is, among other things, a sad and wonderful joke machine.

The book I have re-read many times:
As For Me and My House. The opening section of Underworld. The Dream Songs. Selected Robert Browning. Most years I read at least part of three of these.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Jane Austin writes books, right? I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read them. I can confess this to you, Internet, because you are a collection of 1s and 0s in a data warehouse in the middle of a desert somewhere and thus will not give me the looks that real live people give me when I confess this, these looks generally making me wish I were dead. But then, having been suitably chastised, I go home and pick up a copy of one of her books and I just can’t do it.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
I would take 17-year-old Andrew’s copy of On The Road and pencil in on the last page: “Yeah, sure, this book’s good, but.”

The best book I read in the past six months:
Madness, Rack, and Honey thinks like few other books do. The new George Saunders is a new book by George fucking Saunders. Joshua Clover’s The Totality for Kids.

The book I plan on reading next:
The Dud Avocado; I’m cheating — I’m actually a third of the way through — and I’m pretty sure that when I’m done it’ll be the best book I’ve read in the past six months. Heather Christle’s What Is Amazing. I keep starting Baseball in the Garden of Eden, but I always put it down because I want to read it in the perfect setting — a week by a lake with a case of beer and a radio that only broadcasts old ballgames announced by Vin Scully. The new Stephen Burt essay collection.

A possible title for my autobiography:
A Smug Little Shit: The Andrew Faulkner story.

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