Thursday, July 17, 2014

James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke's latest novel is Wayfaring Stranger.

From his Q & A with Camille Perri at Esquire:

What book were you surprised you loved? What book were you surprised you hated? And what book are you most ashamed you've never read?

I have loved many books and have hated none. I fell in love with books through the WPA book mobile program. When I was a kid, public libraries were in short supply, but each Thursday an old bread truck with shelves built along the walls visited our dead-end street. This was a great treat for kids whose parents seldom had spare money for books. I loved the Hardy Boys just as the girls in our neighborhood loved the Nancy Drew series. I also loved Richard Halliburton's Book of Marvels. For me, reading became a lifetime pleasure as well as necessity.

The only way to learn how to write is to read. The only way to learn human history is to read. The key to all our problems lies in books. Also there can be no democracy without an educated electorate. This is why all demagogues and dictators despise books and those who write and read them.

I've read many books whose content I'm repelled by. John Wesley Hardin's autobiography is one of the best accounts ever written about the life of a sociopath. Books allow us to know our enemies. On occasion I receive mail from irate readers who proudly tell me they are so angered by the content of my work that they have destroyed every one of my books in their possession. I have always been tempted to explain...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue