Reading with... Michael Reynolds

photo: Paola Quintavalle
Michael Reynolds joined Europa Editions, where he is the editor-in-chief, in 2004. Authors he has worked with at Europa include Alina Bronsky, Rebecca Connell, Amélie Nothomb, Elena Ferrante, Chantel Acevedo, Jennifer Tseng, Joan London and Charlotte Wood. He is also the author of a collection of short stories, a book for children and several translations, including three crime novels by Carlo Lucarelli and Viola Di Grado's 70% Acrylic 30% Wool. He was born in Australia in 1968 and now lives in New York.

On your nightstand now:

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (gotta keep up!), Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation by William H. Gass, Outline by Rachel Cusk and La pelle by Curzio Malaparte.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I didn't grow up with a lot of books so it's pretty slim pickings. I remember Caps for Sale vividly, and I remember being very fond of it. I also remember an old set of World Books that I loved to thumb through.

Your top five authors:

I'm afraid they're going to seem very canonical: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Leo Tolstoy and Shakespeare.

Book you've faked reading:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Book you're an evangelist for:

To the Lighthouse and Jacob's Room, both by Virginia Woolf. It's awful that so few people read Woolf for pleasure these days. She's thought of too frequently as difficult or outdated, and she is neither. Her prose is thrilling and her characters ring as emotionally and psychologically true to me today as I'm sure they did to readers in her day.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Emma by Jane Austen (the Penguin Threads edition)

Book you hid from your parents:

Can't think of any. I think I hid the entire reading habit from them for a long time after it took.

Book that changed your life:

All of them, but most significantly Dubliners by James Joyce.

Favorite line from a book:

"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." --from "The Dead" in James Joyce's Dubliners

Five books you'll never part with:

Rimbaud's Illuminations (purchased new in 1983); Ginsberg's Collected Poems 1947-1980 (purchased new in 1989 at City Lights); The Big Question by Wolf Erlbruch (the first book beloved by my oldest daughter, first read c. 2008); I pisolini di Polly by Peter Newell (the first book that made my second daughter laugh until she cried, c. 2013).

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. The Odyssey by Homer. (I can't decide between them.)
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