tv Panel Discussion on Favorite Books and Reading Habits CSPAN November 20, 2016 12:00am-12:46am EST
[inaudible conversations] >> good morning. good morning, everyone. it is truly my pleasure to welcome you to miami book fair. it is a lovely saturday morning in miami. what a wonderful fair it has been all week long and here we are at the street fair. i would like to offer appreciation to our sponsors without whom this book fair would not be taking place. we have the knight foundation, hl, bachelor foundation, the group foundation and so many more sponsors.
i would like to pay thanks to miami-dade college for convening this book fair. let's give a round of applause. and so many students, faculty and staff have given up their time all week long and throughout this weekend to volunteer to make sure this fair is a success. let me see the hands of all of our outstanding friends of the book fair. thank you so much. [applause] >> for your support of miami book fair and if anyone would like to join the circle of friends you may do so today, please let us know. a wonderful day planned for you. i ask cell phones and other devices so we can all enjoy, and autograph table right across on the other side of the hall across from the elevator where you can have your books
autographed, and also have a short q&a period where you will be able to ask questions of the authors and i ask you to just stand at the standing mike, pose your questions and go back to your speech and we will have a great flow. without further a do i would like to introduce our moderator for the program, none other than pamela paul, editor of the new york times book review. having previously served as feature editor and children's book editor she is the author of the starter marriage and the future of matrimony. she edited the collection by the book writers on literature and the literary life from the new york times book review. pamela paul has been a contributor to time magazine and columnist, her work has appeared
in the atlantic, the washington post, the economist among many other venues. pamela paul has been a guest on oprah, many of you have seen her, and good morning america, the today show, the early show, i could go on and on and on. she also speaks frequently on national public radio in pr and testified about her work before congress and presented her research to parliament and is a frequent public speaker at university conferences, other venues such as miami book fair. she is joined by dave barry, terry mcmillan, jay mcirnerny and maria semple. please tell me welcome, you are getting very excited, please help me welcome pamela paul and the panelists. [applause]
are you reading? update richard that's cnn start. >> i have just finished the book on the plane down here, was very impressed with. [laughter] hello? hello? is that better? so sorry . but one book i enjoy it dog of plane down from new york and forgive me if i amf behind that while i was finishing i stopped reading contemporary fiction for a while that was the girls that i thought was wonderful . i assure most of you read that six months ago when it came out but very impressive first novel from a young
woman . set in the '60s long before she was born . it is of fictional recreations of the manson murders . ough wha but the exploration of the adolescent female psychology beautifully written book. >> wide you avoid writing contemporary fiction? >> i am of always afraid i am a paid bit of a minute i will inadvertently steal something . i think if i steal fromok tolstoy i will be happy with the result . especially the beginning of the novel writing process iri would switch gears to nonfiction.
>> with your long trip to miami, . >> allied of time to read did the traffic while i am driving . i am just reading . i was terrified when i understood that panel and today were because i have written my humor michael wife and i immerse myself in crop -- crap laugh laugh but anyway i am reading a good author and i discovered him way late was roy blunt, jr. end of book is called true grit but he only wrote five books and i started and went
through the real fast . he is unbelievable one of the funniest writers i have ever read . he is still alive but maybe not doing well but one of the most deadpan humorpa writer i have ever read . he never breaks narrative character and gets funnier and funnier . i'm sorry he is not doing well. >> i second that . one of the things i like about charles is use a lot of exclamation point semifinal charming so i feel that he is given me permission that is not a good habit to have the what i am reading now because the left the book on the plane. [laughter] i could not read it last
night so i started to readht but the last book . you will know me . i am on book tour right now i thought that lady a good page turner not challenging book is a shot roebuck and people say she is as smart writer in the field . i am still waiting for that page turning with mr. reed book bible read only that author the rest of my lifet but it might be her . but i have to buy another copy. [laughter] >> there are books here available. >> so i wanted a diversion
when i wait around. >> terry also flew in on the airplane . can you hear me? >> i started to read but i cannot think of his name, a brilliant but it was so intense and i am working on a new novel i started to read that of mothers same thing so i had just anti- award for best american short stories i can go in and out intensely and that is what i am reading . i was writing something
along time ago and now was from marquez. [laughter] and hainaut i did not write like tim. >> my one semi political t question because there is a lot of talk of what has happened recently . but did anything immediately after the election you thought i want to read this? >> i actually left the book did the airport . sissies election nine has been reading woodhouse berger one of the greatest stylist and comic writers after dave barry. [laughter] and i certainly feel that i have wrestled with depression in my life and some how i feel that
woodhouse is almost as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressant in relieving a sense of despair . ense of so i had then busy digging into it woodhouse ever since november 9. >> we played the musicic really loud in our house laugh laugh i am not kidding that is what we are doing. >> that is too rational for me as a response so i reach for a book i am not there yet. [applause]m not th >> i everything tweets and right to mingle lot of them but i think have to sneaking go back into 100 years of solitude. >> what is interesting this
panel derives from by the book which is a weekly column from the new york times book review were i ask authors and public figures a series of questions about their reading life that hillary clinton has done one and one of the questions that i ask is what do you recommend the president read ? with the wire pro or anti-trump he says i will not do -- i will not know what i do with that question so to the more innocent era of the childhood reading . so what book made you a reader?the fi you thought this is what i love? >> it was a comic-book quick. >> i read a ton of those bad
the of one book that got me going with the of review not only this is what i want to do was robert benchley as my dad was a huge fan and had his collections . i discovered them at nine or 10 and they were so wrong and relief funny but in a silly way with the idea that the illiterate grownup was writing this changing topics t in the middle of a sentence . i still one-two right like robert benchley have all of the books in my house. >> what book made you a writer? we like the first question mark wax which book made you a reader. >> my first job f-14 who was
then a library so why would be lost in the stacks byal would hideout to read in the dumbwaiter i like the 900 which was the travel section >> the dewey decimal system. [laughter]he kno i distorted medicare and i am starting the silver sneakers i try to remember the lot of things i cannot be member since i turn 65 inke a was going to go to cbs to help you with your memory . i got there and could not remember. [laughter] but at any rate what is the question? i am serious. >> which made you a reader quick. >> i will put it this way . james baldwin not initially
because i was afraid when i saw his book on the bookshelf the first book iss had seen by the african-american and write her and i did not read them right away i did not read him for a few years but he was the one . but to be honest i realize you could write the way that black people talk the way i remembered it back then . and biographies to be honest toth you . what is her name that flew the plane? >> millionaire heart. >> camellia i thought what an idiot she was i thought she was brave but that helped. >> i remember growing up
their right not very many women biographies abigail and clara and dolly madison and amelia. >> react? >> is a book that comes up in your column is harriet the spy . that is my favorite book because that is realistic fiction i think i h. fried the hotbed and the of lyon and the witch and a the wizard of oz but i was neverhats into those . i like realistic fiction and there was a sadness that period the espy spoke to avail leanness to look at people but also to take great pleasure in herat
solitude . leasure in tend to struggle with the introvert . if it is a fun story but i have a pitcher of period by my table because i feel that is what i do even as a -- as an adult. >> i am not sure which came first but got party boys i read all of those . but the first reading that i did that with slightly serious was jack london white fang and the call of love while the particularfa was mesmerized i don't think he is widely enough red today . the first one that made mewr want to be a writer and then
subsequently that i sought out in my school library for language itself not just the medium of story telling. >> how old were you? he is i was reading mad magazine. >> i was reading that. >> how old were you? >> 13. >> now we all look bad. [laughter] but there are questions thatio to people hate the most and what should i read so you draw a blank and who is your favorite authors and it is terrifying . yo
but because i really want to know i will ask the second question. >> >> i like james and amy tan tan, contemporaries? either of those or who are long dead . >> there are too many people that i like. >> but who do you love every single book everytime they have a new book you will run out to get that book becausese you love them? >> toni morrison.
>> there are so many new ones. >> then you can talk about the other dead people. >> hoodoo i don't like what. >> i cannot do that . >> contemporary people? i heard they had a book coming out to be very excited i love jennifer egan the keep is my favorite book covers and -- of hers and i often think what is jennifer doing right now? what will that book be?k i have no idea . she jumps around so that excites me . if i heard that ben lerner
had a new book by would be excited . i haven't read nell zinc dishy have to books, out on one day? that is crazy . she is good for some craziness so i like her as well. >> also the family dysfunction novels definitely . . also i feel there is not nearly enough sister novels any time there is a spinster spe >> elizabeth has a new book coming out to again next year. >> the spenser novel?
ordinary women? or extraordinary or excellent when then? what is it called? a new book is coming out in the spring which i love which is a modern day spinster novel and getting a lot of sex which that is not the point of the spinstero me n the modern take on the spinster novel. >> call -- how old is that correct. >> after you can no longer have children. >> in the olden days to old to be married . right . like you have not then married off in it was your 20s in the time of jane a austen and then after too old to have kids perhaps?kids,
>> what books do you seek out quick. >> i will say proust for me but this really makes me nervous to write negative l. o woody . -- height fidelity i love him for anything he writes . but because it is important to name a woman i above in nora ephron . but the books i got into the deepest was master and commander with patrick
o'brien he was unbelievable. >> you read a lot of books. >> iso happy when you said you just know they go on forever and ever i don't know how he you wrote all these he is 400 years old but i love them . also proust. >> your favorites can be dead. >> i hate this game lot because i end up offending my friends but with contemporary writers i look at the english writers because there is a lot of good contemporary english writers like to be in barns -- julian barnes i will read any saying that they write a
bad as for my favorite dead author i think jane austen or fitzgerald is my two favorite. >> this is a question that stomped me a few years ago we were arguing over a book and a member who wishes a psychologist said why do you read? everybody was dumb struck and we could not come up with the answer . i will not give you that much time . is said to escape? to learn something? to be transported? you look like you have an answer. >> i read because it stops me from worrying about my own problems part by can worry about other people who are not real. [applause] a >> i do remember when you
>> beyond that i do find that i have compassion for things that surprise -- that i'm surprised by, like how did i get so compassionate about that and i read about a similar characterab in the book and gave me a handle on how someone would live and that's kind of an extra thing but i'm always surprised by that that i go through the world and feel like i have a greater perspective because of a book that i read 20 years ago or so i carry that around with me. but it really is for the selfless pressure of reading.
>> i find people to be transported, to get away and thy people who we read sentence by sentence, they love them on a sentence level which is kind ofr the opposite of being transported because they are focusing so much on the writing itself as opposed to being sort of taken away by the writings. dave. >> well, for fiction, i agree to both of the answers. to me it's like a way to receive the concentrated intelligence, you know, how hard it is to write sentence, how much more thoughts goes into the sentence in a book, spoken out loud, most of the time, anyway, seems like an efficient way to get lots of smarts into your head, you know what i mean, with nonfiction which is not escapism so i don't read it before i go to bed. >> i read as terry said to get
outside of myself and i was thinking back as reading as a kid because i desperately wanted to learn how to be and i wanted to piece together an identity and it was a struggle and, you know, i read authors like fleming because i was trying to forge an identity for myself and it came down to like what should i drink. [laughter]rink? >> i didn't pass the foreign service exam. i couldn't be a spy. i was really trying to putse together an identity for myself and that was -- i think that was my initial compulsion to read. >> can i say one thing? i forgot i also loved ringi al
lardner. anybody heard of lardner? >> yeah. >> back when you asked who influenced me, they gave me permission to use humor and to see how serious it can be and the commentary that it makes on our life and how you get through stuff through humor. i know that was deep. [laughter] >> how do you decide what to read next other than new yorkth times cover to cover. >> that's it. >> do you have a trusted person. >> do you go by word of mouth. >> i listen to my wife michelle and also capable of single handily making books into best
sellers just by making everybody she knows read the book. kite runner which was nothing before michelle discovered it. i made everybody in the bookstore buy even if they owned the kite runner, she never does this for my books. michelle is a good reliable barometer. >> it's really a combination of things. it's really word of mouth. i talk about books a lot. you have your friends who are always reading and so you're talking about it. "the new york times" review are going fast but i definitely rely on "the new york times" and -- and i think maybe three or four times i need to hear about something before i will read it, you know, and then i do actually
like to go into the bookstores and i ask the book sellers what they love. there have been wonderful books that i had never heard of, not have read if somebody said this is my favorite book and sometimes i get lucky that way too. getti >> jay. >> well, "the new york times" book review. i'm fortunate, i think i'mtimes fortunate to live in new york city and a lot of my friends are in publishing so i hear about stuff often before it gets published and but i also find out, i too have been in a book tour for the last two, three months. i can't remember. i spend a lot of time in independent bookstores doing readings and the andy bookstore owners and book sellers have been an extraordinary resource and they always have been.
>> what about you terry? what do you decide what to read? >> all i can say independent bookstores, amazon, i could buy a house with what i've been spending -- the housekeeper, i said don't touch them. they are on the floor. but i buy what -- i live in pasadena and there's an independent bookstore and they have readers editors choice, reader's choice but it's the people who work there and thereh are really smart readers and a great bookstore and they put all the new fiction and they kind of separate it, you know, but they also have comments on all the new books that are coming out and you sit there and you read a little comment and you think,
oh, i need another basket. [laughter] >> you know, i'm serious. it's like they are really smart and you get a chance to look at the books and i love discovering new writers or people that i haven't read in centuries or just never read and that's why my house is full of books that i haven't read. >> i'm going to ask one more question and turn it over to audience members because i've been told we have a hard end at a quarter, but imagine your life as a novel, imagine your life as a novel, who would you want to write that? [laughter] >> i'm ending with an easy one. >> my is a guy named by jay which is pg woodhouse. >> or if you got someone to write a serious biography, whoo would it be?
>> i feel like our sensibilities are similar and i met her recently and i do feel like we are the same person which is her name is nina. >> yeah. >> love nina which i love and man at the helm, he's british and just funny and cookie and i feel like if i write one of the books for her i might be able to and she might be able to write a book for her. we could do a literary con but nina. >> i think i would say elizabeth because she knows how to go into all the different corners and discover things that you don't know about yourself, at least that's how i felt about some of her characters. but also i don't think my life
would be all that interesting. [laughter] >> it might make a short story. [laughter]ght >> all right, jay, you have a biography or a novel of your life, who would write it? >> i think if i could choose a biographer, unfortunately he's no longer with us. one of the great journalists, literary biographers, man of letters of my lifetime is george who was actually a close friend of mine and he published my very first short story in the paris review and i would -- i would give anything to have george come back and write my biography. >> all right, i have about 20 more questions here but i want to turn it over to audience member ifs you want -- members if you want to ask a question. >> thank you, that was a great presentation.
my question is do you have any advice, positive or negative for a long lifetime reader and lover who wants to open up an independent bookstore? >> make a lot of money first. >> i had a lunch with a woman who had been a lawyer and architect and decided to start a bookstore in who are looped called writer's block. >> that's a great name. >> she started it two years ago and got a three-year lease and she has made no money at all. her husband is kind of helping fund it. she voted for clinton, he voted for trump. that's their marriage. and she was just debating where she's going to keep going but basically she's zero financial risk, not taking any salaryin which is breaking even so she decided she's going to keep it going. the main thing is if you don't
really love it, you're nuts to do it because you're not going to make money doing it unless you're michelle kaplin which owns half of miami now. ic there may be drugs involved somewhere. >> partner with mitch kaplin. >> next question. >> can you give any advice to anybody else about this topic? >> i say there's an 800 number that is given to you after you join the author's. >> will give you his number which is in albany, new york. >> the question is where do you get your ideas from?
>> that's hard. i did an interview where every single question involved the word inspiration which int couldn't believe but i've never been asked so many different questions involving inspiration. that's hard to say. you just never know what's going to spark. i don't go looking for them. they just kind of pop up, i would say, that's not a w satisfying answer, sorry.sp >> i think for -- i write about what is really pissing me off right now. seriously. it doesn't have to be me personally, but but i write about mostly things that -- i guess i do and people do that i wish they didn't do or that they did more of so there's a lot of books there. [laughter] >> you have a lot to write about. >> all right, next question.
>> and not many years left to do it. >> don't say that. changma [laughter] >> okay, what is the difference for you to listen to a book on tape, hold a book or kindle? you get a new novel and you have three ways to read it. >> hard cover. >> hard cover. >> hard cover. not even a paperback. >> marcel. >> go ahead. >> my question is a little bit sort of being a fish out of water. i actually hate to read which is probably unusual here. >> we don't care if you read the books or not just as long as you buy them. [laughter] >> can i tell you i've done that many times, i'm sure i could have a nice retirement account based on that but what i'm actually wondering, i love ideas
and i love hearing people talking about ideas but i was never a good reader, whatever that means, i'm actually wondering if anybody has a recommendation for people who hate to read. [laughter] >> if you're not going to read it, buy my book, you know. [laughter]going to >> good idea. >> all right, sir. >> towards the beginning, someone raised the question, i guess pamela did, what did you do after the day, after the election, what did you think, i only have a comment. i think that congress should pass an amendment to the constitution that anybody running for ce