Catherine Coulter is the author of 65 novels. She launched her career writing historical romances, but in recent years has turned her hand to penning contemporary suspense, most notably her bestselling FBI thriller series. The newest novel in the FBI series, Split Second, was released July 19, 2011 by Putnam.
On your nightstand now:
The pile is thick, maybe a bit dusty toward the bottom. I picked up the top five. They are: 1) The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrich. This sounds like a bathroom book--we'll see; 2) Altar of Bones by Philip Carter--an international thriller, can't wait; 3) Vienna Waltz by Teresa Grant, a historical novel set at the Congress of Vienna in 1815; 4) Lost to Time: Unforgettable Stories that History Forgot by Martin Sandler (Now why is this one here?); and 5) The Nostradamus Secret by Joseph Badal--now this one I'm moving to the top.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, without any hesitation whatsoever. Later, of course, I graduated to Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. Ah, if only there'd been Harry Potter back in the Dark Ages.
Your top authors:
Tough, but off the top of my head: J.D. Robb, Agatha Christie, Anne Perry (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt), John Sandford, Linda Howard, Jack Higgins (only Sean Dillon). I can do more, please?
Book you've faked reading:
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. Oprah got me to buy the book, but I couldn't make it past page 10.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Not for writers only, but for anyone who wants to write cogent well-written English sentences.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.
Book that changed your life:
The History of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant--I know this sounds all pseudo-intellectual and like I'm this brainiac who wants to make you feel like an inferior slug, but this series taught me to love history, taught me how to "learn" and "read" history, and how to understand historical context. It's too bad the series ended with Napoleon. I cannot say enough, but perhaps I already have.
Favorite line from a book:
"...you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you." --Dennis to King Arthur, in Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail (Not a book, a movie, but it should be required viewing for history students. See answer above.)
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Any of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling