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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


INK Q&A: The Reader

In our last newsletter, we turned the tables on our readers:

Why should published authors have all the fun? Answer any three of the following questions from our beloved INK Q&A and send your responses to We want to hear what you have to say!

Readers responded in droves — many more responses than we'd imagined, in fact — and certainly far too many to print them all. We were even more surprised at how good some of these answers were... too good to keep to ourselves!

Here, then, are some of our favorites.

1. If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?

  • "A Life in Training: Four Decades Learning and No Time to Do Anything"
  • "She Wrote It Down to Remember: Now, Where Did That Book Go???"
  • "On the Outside Looking In: How the Kid With His Face Pressed Against the Bakery Window of Life Still Got to Taste the Donuts"
  • "State of Denial, House of Horrors: How I Survived Growing Up in a Family Bathed in Alcohol in Ohio"
  • "All About Beth: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, or How to Live with a Target on your Back"
  • "Sugar and Spice, A Life of Many Flavors." There would be a chapter titled, "...and when she was good, she was very, very good," and another chapter, "...and when she was bad, she was better..."
  • "Bridesmaid Revisited: Life in Second Place"
  • The title of my biography would be: "The Angry White Dwarf in Black." The subtitle would be: "If You're the Smallest, You Gotta be the Meanest."

2. How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?

  • The book was on the Multnomah County Library website as a "Staff Picks." How I Paid For College (A Novel Of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater) by Marc Acito. I enjoy finding local writers and this book was entertaining, well written and a bit surprising, since I knew nothing about the story or the writer before reading the book. I would recommend it to most of my friends who are receptive to other lifestyles and ideas that may not be their own.
  • The book was in the drawer of my bedside table. The book is about Gypsies. I was, at the time, producing a musical evening about Gypsies.
  • I went to the bookstore looking for a new book by my favorite author or about my favorite sci-fi series. I read it to help my get away from my under-employed, boring, and too ordinary everyday life.
  • I stumbled across Dianne Day's wonderful Fremont Jones mysteries the old-fashioned way — strolling through a real, live bookstore — because the cover caught my eye and the blurb deepened my interest. I'm still with the series several books later because Ms. Day has created a truly original heroine whose life, love, and courage simply keep me turning the pages.

3. Describe the best breakfast of your life.

  • Many years ago, driving from Texas to Michigan, I stayed overnight in Blytheville (pronounced "Blyvil"), Arkansas, and went to an immensely popular truck stop café for breakfast. I soon discovered why it was so popular: I was served a small boatload of perfectly scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, and fluffy grits, accompanied by biscuits so light that they almost floated away when you lifted the napkin off the basket. I didn't need to eat again until I was nearly all the way to Chicago.
  • Chocolate Chip pancakes at IHOP...I was ill afterwards but oh my god...pancakes with chocolate and all the flavored syrups...yum!
  • I was walking down the Champs Elysées in Paris when I came across a street vendor making crepes. There is nothing like strawberry crepes and wine for breakfast.
  • It was at the Hotel Saga in Reykjavik, Iceland. The buffet spread was the ultimate in food as an art form. Perfectly seasoned omelets as fluffy as clouds, statuesque arranagements of lovely fruits, mosaic platters of french pastries, coffee worthy of the most refined espresso gourmet.
  • The best breakfast "I" ever had was really eaten by someone else. I watched. It wasn't vicarious pleasure but fascination that etched a memory that beautiful June morning, in the garden of a famously old hotel overlooking Norway's Hardangerfjorden. A lanky Scandinavian lounging on a lawn chair caught my attention. He could have been a prince; the refinements of his features and movement were not disguised by the casual nature of the setting. Even as he sat absorbed in the newspaper and eating only a thick slice of cheese on coarse bread, his sophisticated elegance was unmistakable in every motion. Never has a breakfast so simple looked so appetizing. I often think back on that moment and remember how delicious each bite was.
  • French toast and fresh ham and sweet fruit in New Orleans, after we stepped over the used condoms scattered everywhere on Bourbon Street.

4. What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?

  • Paying full price, with cash, for a book.
  • A good Highlands single malt Scotch, neat — Glengarioch is nice, and not too expensive...
  • On a cold night, with lots of stars, take a glass of wine and have a nude soak in the outdoor hot tub.
  • Um, pedicures. Sixty minutes of sheer, unadulterated pampering, and you walk away with shiny, boldly colored toenails. Who knew that would be so spectacular??
  • I have a really strange fascination with women's shoes from the '30s, '40s, and '50s. They just don't make shoes that accentuate a woman's legs like the shoes of those eras.
  • Attached is a fantasy, an indulgence of some wickedness... I must caution that it is of a sexually explicit nature so please handle carefully. Admittedly it was a lot of fun writing it... more than "fun". It was the next day's product of my
    imagination, after a too brief taste of dessert with a married man. (Brockman's Note: We regret that we cannot reprint the fantasy here, so we leave its contents to your imagination.)
  • Books, of course. I have a 2000+ book library. My motto: Payday, ergo Powells!
  • Watching the true crime stuff on CourtTV about the serial killers, etc...riveting. over and over again.

5. What fictional character would you like to date, and why?

  • Lord Peter Wimsey would be my choice as a date. Why? He is witty, elusive, well mannered...and being rich doesn't hurt.
  • I have been in love with John Sanford's Lucas Davenport since he was created. Lucas is my fantasy wild side guy.
  • That would be Kyra Peldyrin (aka Kyra the Red), protagonist of Barbara Hambly's Stranger at the Wedding — she's easily the most interesting (benign, female) wizard I've met in my readings, and quite beautiful (though she doesn't seem to know it). Damn that Blore Spenson for snatching her up before I could get there!
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy, preferably personified in the form of Colin Firth. Loving, sensitive, loyal, smart, moral, heroic, gentlemanly, manly, romantic, and sexy as hell. What more could one possibly ask?
  • Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer's secretary, Velda. She was a woman that was sure of herself and not obsessed with her natural beauty, and was capable of dealing with an unusually diverse segment of society and maintain her bearing. And represent Mike Hammer in a favorable light, even at his worst... a remarkable fictional woman.
  • Don Quixote. Does there have to be a reason?!
  • I would like to date V from V for Vendetta. We'd run around London, do a lot of swashbuckling and adventurous activities, battle oppressive regimes, and have interesting philosophical discussions. Much more exciting than bars, fancy restaurants, or discos.
  • I always liked Penny from Inspector Gadget — nothing like an overly intelligent woman who likes dogs.
  • I'm going to pass on this question, I'd probably go for the non-fictional Isabel Allende ("mi pais inventado"), but even mentioning it puts us both in danger of my wife getting us both with one bullet. Louise doesn't hold with me dating.

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. How I Paid for College: A Novel of... Used Trade Paper $5.50
  2. Stranger at the Wedding Used Mass Market $2.95

  3. Don Quixote
    Used Trade Paper $9.00
  4. V for Vendetta
    Used Trade Paper $13.95

One Response to "INK Q&A: The Reader"

    Richard Warren May 31st, 2006 at 9:16 am

    No, Brockman! How can you tease us like that? "Dessert with a married man"... and you leave us dangling! (So to speak.) Fine, then I'll just make up my *own* fantasy involving dessert and a married woman and a really big spoon... and I won't share it with you.

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