Describe your latest book.
My latest book is Nothing Was the Same, a continuation of my earlier memoir, An Unquiet Mind, which described my experiences with manic-depressive (bipolar) illness and my work as a professor of psychiatry who suffers from the same illness that I study and treat.
Nothing Was the Same is a book about love and death, what the one gives and the other takes. It is an elegy, a remembrance of my late husband, a distinguished scientist and doctor, who was a man of courage and wit and someone whose support made it possible for me to contend with a difficult disease and to write about it in an open way. He handled with singular grace his own long struggle with the illness that eventually killed him. I wrote about his grace with dying, his gift for living, and then wrote about the pain of losing him. Because there is overlap between the experiences of grief and depression, I described how they are in some ways similar but in essential and profound ways different. Finally, I wrote of the re-emergence into life and the durability of love.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Sunset Song.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Byron: "Yet, see, he mastereth himself, and makes / His torture tributary to his will."
Graham Greene: "I can only believe in love that strikes suddenly out of a clear sky; I do not believe in the slow germination of friendship or one that asks 'why'?"
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
David Hume's grave, Edinburgh.
Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Kelvin by image and concept, Celsius by sound.
Best television series of all time?
ALF, paws down. A wry account of an orange, eight-stomached, cat-eating alien and his adaptations to his human family and new planet.
Who is wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Perhaps I have been missing out on something, but I would have to give it to the rock bands.
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Dogs, although turtles have a quiet charm.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise:
Memoirs and Other Writings by Scientists and Naturalists
On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius
Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent by Alexander von Humboldt
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir
Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs by Wallace Stegner
The Dyer's Hand: An Autobiography by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey
Journals of Henry David Thoreau
Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants by Katy Payne
Coming of Age with Elephants: A Memoir by Joyce Poole
Snow Crystals by W. A. Bentley and W. J. Humphreys