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New York Times had an exclusive interview with an author of famous books like "Inferno", "Da Vinci Code", "Angels and Demons" and etc. Dan Brown.
Axar.az presents the interview:
– What’s your favorite book of all time?
– We did not have a television while I was growing up, and so I read voraciously. My earliest memory of being utterly transfixed by a book was Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” Halfway through the book, I remember my mom telling me it was time for bed and not being able to sleep because I was so deeply concerned for the safety of the characters. The next day, when I finished the book, I remember crying with relief that everything had worked out. The emotion startled me — in particular the depth of connection I felt toward these imaginary characters. It was in that moment that I became aware of the magic of storytelling and the power of the printed word.
– Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
– The most pleasurable reading experience I’ve had recently was just last week — jogging on the beach with an audiobook of Malcolm Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw.” I was so engrossed in his essay “The Ketchup Conundrum” that I ran an extra mile just to find out how it ended.
– Who are your favorite novelists?
– John Steinbeck for his vivid sense of place. Robert Ludlum for the complexity of his plotting. And J. K. Rowling for inspiring so many young people to be passionate about reading.
– What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?
– I read nonfiction almost exclusively — both for research and also for pleasure. When I read fiction, it’s almost always in the thriller genre, and it needs to rivet me in the opening few chapters. I don’t read horror, ever. When I was 15, I made the mistake of reading part of “The Exorcist.” It was the first and last horror book I’ve ever opened.
– What makes for a good thriller?
– For me, a good thriller must teach me something about the real world. Thrillers like “Coma,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Firm” all captivated me by providing glimpses into realms about which I knew very little — medical science, submarine technology and the law. To my taste, a great thriller must also contain at its core a thought-provoking ethical debate or moral dilemma. Some of my favorites through the years have been “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” by H. F. Saint; “Contact,” by Carl Sagan; and also the classic “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, which, while skirting the edges of horror, was such a lesson in creating suspense that I couldn’t put it down.
– What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
– I usually write about historical figures and classical art, so you might be surprised to find a host of modern biographies (Steve Jobs, Andre Agassi, Clive Davis), as well as a dozen books on modern art, especially the works of M. C. Escher.
– Do you ever read self-help? Anything you recommend?
– I don’t read self-help, although I recently found myself helped inadvertently by reading “Moonwalking With Einstein,” which centers on the science of remembering. I picked up the book because I’ve always been interested in why some people have great memories and others (like myself) do not. Strangely, I discovered that simply reading about the methods used by memory champions helped me improve my own memory. Now at least I can remember where I left my glasses.
– What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?
– Not long ago, I had an amusing experience meeting the author of a book I received as a gift nearly two decades ago — a book that in many ways changed my life. Almost 20 years ago, I was halfway through writing my first novel, “Digital Fortress,” when I was given a copy of “Writing the Blockbuster Novel,” by the legendary agent Albert Zuckerman. His book helped me complete my manuscript and get it published. Two months ago, by chance, I met Mr. Zuckerman for the first time. I gratefully told him that he had helped me write “Digital Fortress.” He jokingly replied that he planned to tell everyone that he had helped me write “The Da Vinci Code.”
– Did you grow up with a lot of books? What are your memories of being read to as a child?
– I grew up surrounded by books. My sister and I made weekly trips to the Exeter Public Library and returned carrying armloads of our favorites — Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, “Curious George,” “Madeline” and “Babar.” As we got older, I remember my parents reading to us every night — “Make Way for Ducklings,” “The Velveteen Rabbit” and Maurice Sendak’s “Chicken Soup With Rice,” which I preferred to his entirely terrifying “Where the Wild Things Are” (the notion of a child’s bedroom transforming into a monster-infested jungle made it impossible to sleep). The poetry of Ogden Nash was another staple in our household, which I believe contributed to my early love of wordplay and humor in writing. On the more serious side, our bookshelves contained illustrated editions of Grimms’ fairy tales and Aesop’s fables, which instilled in me at a very young age a clear sense of good and evil as well as the archetypal roles of heroes and villains.
– Do you have a favorite childhood literary character or hero?
– Frank and Joe Hardy were responsible for my first experience in “binge reading.” I remember devouring the entire Hardy Boys series over one summer, enthralled by their bravery and cleverness. I also remember feeling enormous affection for the St. Bernard Buck in Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” and, in later years, Ralph in “Lord of the Flies.”
– What books are on your coffee table?
– It appears our coffee table is currently featuring a rather unlikely quartet — an antique edition of “The Divine Comedy” illustrated by William Blake; a copy of Stephen Hawking’s “The Universe in a Nutshell”; a homemade photo journal of New England foliage; and a copy of “Mortality,” by Christopher Hitchens.
– If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?
– Joseph Campbell. His writings on semiotics, comparative religion and mythology (in particular “The Power of Myth” and “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”) helped inspire the framework on which I built my character Robert Langdon. The PBS interview series with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers was hands down the most thought-provoking conversation I’ve ever witnessed. Campbell’s breadth of knowledge about the origins of religious belief enabled him to respond with clarity and logic to some very challenging questions about contradictions inherent in faith, religion and scripture. I remember admiring Campbell’s matter-of-fact responses and wanting my own character Langdon to project that same respectful understanding when faced with complex spiritual issues.
– What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t?
– “The Sound and the Fury,” by William Faulkner. I tried. I really did.
– What do you plan to read next?
– “David and Goliath,” by Malcolm Gladwell.
2017.04.24 / 15:24