FAVORITE READS

It's a question that comes up at every reading: Who do you like to read? Early on, I kept an index card handy with the names of favorite books to avoid drawing a blank and saying, inaccurately, "Shakespeare." The fact is, I don't ever curl up with a good Shakespeare. What I curl up with is any T.C. Boyle. My hands-down favorite is Drop City and I'm currently listening to The Women, on my iPod while working out or stacking wood or raking up all the leaves I missed last fall. The Women is about the women in Frank Lloyd Wright's life — especially fun because our house was designed by one of Wright's students in the 1950s, a fact I take with a grain of salt since Wright took on students mostly to keep him out of the poorhouse.

A life-changing book in my 30s was R.W.B. Lewis's (no relation) biography of Edith Wharton, particularly the drama of her love life. I'm a fan of Wharton's novels as well, but not as much as I'm a fan of her life.

Whenever a George Saunders short story appears in The New Yorker, I stop what I'm doing to read it, and I'm never disappointed. I'm also a Harry Crews fan; how could anyone resist a story about a man who eats a car? All Wally Lamb's books are among my favorites, particularly I Know This Much is True. For poetry, Bruce Cohen's new book, Disloyal Yoyo. is a knockout.

As for mystery writers? I had a Poe obsession at age ten. I was a shy kid and hid myself away all summer reading his short stories while my mother tried to trick me into getting out in the fresh air and playing with other kids. I also like Jonathan Kellerman, Steve Martini and J.A. Jance when it comes to those fast-paced, seat-of-your pants reads.

And finally there's the whole. luscious category of true outdoor adventure. Into Thin Air, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, In the Heart of the Sea to name a few. In short, I'll read anything, even a good cereal box, as long as it can suspend my disbelief for a while.