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Myla Goldberg's favorite books:

  1. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon

    Book Cover: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon
    (literature and fiction)

    "The Curious Incident brims with imagination, empathy, and vision -- plus it's a lot of fun to read."

  2. Source:

What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer?
There are so many different ways different books have influenced me that to name one book as the most influential just isn't possible, so I'm glad I get to make a list....

What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?
  1. Street Of Crocodiles By Bruno Schulz

    Book Cover: Street Of Crocodiles By Bruno Schulz
    (literature and fiction)

    "Whenever I read this, the lushness of the prose acts as a narcotic. Schulz is filled with beautiful, startling images and unexpected twists of the imagination. "

  2. Moby Dick By Herman Melville

    Book Cover: Moby Dick By Herman Melville
    (classics, literature and fiction)

    "Melville does whatever he wants in this thing and gets away with it! There's essays and theater and prose and it's all compelling and smart and funny. "

  3. Pale Fire By Vladimir Nabokov

    Book Cover: Pale Fire By Vladimir Nabokov
    (literature and fiction, classics)

    "The narrative structure of this is so ingenious and cool and it works so seamlessly. The book is a major inspiration to me to take risks when I write and to look for the less obvious way to tell a story. "

  4. War With The Newts By Karel Capek

    Book Cover: War With The Newts By Karel Capek
    (literature and fiction, sci-fi)

    "This is another example of a writer doing whatever he wants, having a great time, and writing a brilliant, funny, prescient book. Newts feels like it could have been written yesterday instead of seventy years ago. "

  5. Atonement By Ian Mcewan

    Book Cover: Atonement By Ian Mcewan
    (literature and fiction)

    "I love the way this book tells its story, and the vividness of its characters, and McEwan's prose is always a pleasure to read, but the thing that really gets me about Atonement is the way McEwan nails a certain kind of solitude that belongs only to childhood and what a child's mind and imagination will do when left to its own devices. "

  6. I Served The King Of England By Bohumil Hrabal

    Book Cover: I Served The King Of England By Bohumil Hrabal
    (literature and fiction)

    "Hrabal's writing is irreverent, surprising, and gorgeous. His ideas and his images burrow into the mind and build permanent nests. "

  7. Blindness By José Saramago

    Book Cover: Blindness By José Saramago
    (literature and fiction)

    "When I was reading this book, it was all I wanted to be doing. One of the most compelling, frightening and all encompassing reads ever. "

  8. Book Cover: Anything By Alice Munro
    (literature and fiction)

    "I know I'm not naming a specific book here, but that's because Munro's stories have come to me singly, in different ways. She packs so much so smoothly into her stories; each one is a complete universe, as complex and fully realized as any novel. And her grasp of human psychology is masterful."

  9. Source:

What are you reading?

I just read a Canadian writer, Nancy Huston. Her first novel, Plainsong, was never published in the U. S. I think she's a poet . . . and she could do plot, too. Most poets can't string plot together. Also, Ghostwritten by David Mitchell.

I'm a huge fan of Victor Pelevin, a contemporary Russian writer. He's the author of Buddha's Little Finger. My favorite of his is The Life of Insects -- it's an amazing allegory, where the line between people and insects is fudged, and it depicts life in post-communist Russia. He pulls it off. That's my favorite kind of book, one that takes chances.
  1. Plainsong By Nancy Huston

    Book Cover: Plainsong By Nancy Huston
    (literature and fiction)

  2. Ghostwritten By David Mitchell

    Book Cover: Ghostwritten By David Mitchell
    (literature and fiction)

  3. The Life Of Insects by Victor Pelevin

    Book Cover: The Life Of Insects by Victor Pelevin
    (literature and fiction, science)

  4. Usa Trilogy By John Dos Passos

    Book Cover: Usa Trilogy By John Dos Passos
    (literature and fiction)

    "I'm a big fan of books that tell their stories using unconventional narrative structures. One of my all-time favorite books is Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov, which is a novel essentially written in annotations; and then as I was doing my period research, I came across USA Trilogy, by John Dos Passos, which tells its story using lots of different kinds of texts. USA Trilogy's structure just blew me away, and was a very direct inspiration for how I ended up structuring Wickett's Remedy. "

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Why should you listen to her?

Myla Goldberg is the author of the bestselling Bee Season, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. It has been adapted to film and widely translated. Her essay collection, Time’s Magpie, explores all her favorite places in Prague, where she lived for a year in the early nineties. Her novel Wickett’s Remedy grew out of her fascination with the 1918 influenza epidemic and explores the nature of human ambition and the frailty of individual and collective memory. Her short stories have appeared in McSweeneys and Harpers. Her book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Bookforum. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jason Little and their daughter.

  1. Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

    Book Cover: Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
    (literature and fiction, religion and spirituality)

  2. Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg

    Book Cover: Wickett
    (literature and fiction)


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