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What Are You Reading?
In which we ask New York's most publicly literate about their reading choices.
by Sean Morrow
How are you liking Philip Roth so far?
Well, I've only read like, five pages.
What other Philip Roth have you read?
I've read a few of his Zuckerman novels, the trilogy. Exit Ghost, Portnoy's Complaint.
Portnoy's Complaint is a good one. I never wanted to eat liver again after reading that.
Roth is considered one of those "best living writers," along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Cormac McCarthy. Have you read anything by those guys?
I read The Road by McCarthy. I liked it. It's a totally different style.
Did you find the end depressing or uplifting?
Hmm. Good question. I thought it was uplifting. The rest of it was so grim that the end kind of had to be, I guess.
What's the last great book you read?
It's been awhile. I really liked Solar by Ian McEwan. It's about solar technology.
That one was famous because of the scene where the guy's penis freezes off, right? Was that hard to read?
No, I thought it was hilarious, actually.
Where are you from? I can hear a bit of an accent.
I'm from Norway — Oslo.
Do you read more in Norwegian or English translations?
Mostly Norwegian, actually. I usually read all the classics in Norwegian. And Norwegian novels as well. I prefer reading English literature in English.
Knut Hamsun is Norwegian, right?
Yes. I read a few of his books. In English it's probably called... Hunger, right?
Yeah, great book! What did you think?
I liked it a lot. It's one of our classics. I read it in high school.
How important is it that someone you date be a reader?
Well, they should at least be open to it. I should probably read a lot more than I do.
Is there a book that you find coming back to you the most in your everyday life?
That's a tough one. Now that I'm here in New York, probably Catcher in the Rye. I read it last time I was here, so it brings back a lot of memories of just walking around the city.