|photo: Tanya Malott
Charles Dubow is the author of Indiscretion (Morrow, February 5, 2013). Over the years he has been a roustabout, a brick mason, a lumberjack, a sheepherder, a Congressional aide and a founding editor of Forbes.com. For years his family had a house in East Hampton, on Georgica Pond, the setting for much of his novel. He lives with his wife, Melinda, two kids and their Labrador retriever, Luke, in Manhattan. He's working on his second novel.
On your nightstand now:
William Manchester's Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, Martin Amis's Lionel Asbo, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (my daughter is reading it for school and I am reading it to help with her homework).
Favorite book when you were a child:
Seven Men of Gascony by R.F. Delderfield; a sweeping epic describing the lives of seven French soldiers serving during the Napoleonic campaigns. I was a military history buff as a kid. My grandfather started taking me around Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields when I was very young and I just got hooked. This book combined literature and history in a way that just blew my 12-year-old mind. There was also a fair amount of death and sex, if I recall. That was also pretty titillating.
Your top five authors:
Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dickens, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. But also: John le Carré, George MacDonald Fraser, Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain.
Book you've faked reading:
With the exception of maybe one or two books in school for which I read the Cliffs Notes (and I can't honestly remember which ones, it's been so long), I haven't faked reading a book in years. There are, however, many books that I have started and not been able to finish. For example, Moby Dick and Gravity's Rainbow. I know I should finish them, but I just haven't been able. However, I have never claimed to have finished them in the first place.
Book you're an evangelist for:
A.J. Liebling's Between Meals (I must buy at least one copy a year and give it away.) Liebling is one of the greatest nonfiction writers of the 20th century, and not enough people today know who he is. (Though those of us who do are fiercely loyal.) This is a memoir of the years he spent living--and eating--in Paris, first as a young man desultorily attending the Sorbonne on an allowance from his increasingly exasperated father, to his later years when he had returned as a respected journalist with a decent expense account. It is full of humor, wisdom and just plain great writing.
Book you've bought for the cover:
You mean aside from Knockouts: Five Decades of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photography? J
Book that changed your life:
I don't mean this arrogantly but honestly my own novel, Indiscretion, has changed my life more than any other book. It's my first book, and since I sold it, my life has changed for the better. (Thank you, William Morrow!) Aside from that, there have been so many books that possibly qualify that I don't honestly think I can choose just one. Every good book I read--and maybe even a few of the lousy ones--has changed my life to a certain extent. Certainly, Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking has had a pretty powerful impact--at least on what I eat.
Favorite line from a book:
"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." --from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
Honorable mention goes to "Up to a point, Lord Copper." --from Scoop by Evelyn Waugh.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
John le Carré's The Honourable Schoolboy. I re-read it every year. Too many people discount le Carré as merely a "spy" writer, but I think he's one of the best writers of the last half of the 20th century.