Mike Greenberg has been the co-host of ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning for 14 years. His debut novel, All You Could Ask For (Morrow, April 2, 2013), written in three women's voices, is about the power of friendship and hope in the face of adversity. Mike and his wife, Stacy, are forming a foundation called Heidi's Angels in conjunction with the book's release, and will donate all of the author's proceeds to the V Foundation for cancer research.
On your nightstand now:
I just finished Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe, so it's still sitting there. I enjoyed it, mostly because no one does a better job of developing characters. I emerge from reading his books feeling as though I have met a collection of new people and, usually, sorry to finish because I am going to miss them.
Favorite book when you were a child:
My favorite book was The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. What I cannot remember now was whether I just enjoyed the characters and wonderful writing, or if I really understood the depth of the book's message. More recently, I read that book to my children hundreds of times when they were small, and I marvel at how beautifully constructed it is. There isn't a book better written than that one, not by any author in any genre.
Your top five authors:
John Irving is first. To me, he is the greatest American author of the second half of the 20th century. I have been more emotionally affected in my life by his work than I have by any other books, films or music. Second is Nick Hornby. High Fidelity is the ultimate guy's book, it captured the angst of being 20-something better than anything I have read. And A Long Way Down is a stylistic masterpiece, the way he alternated between narrators was the inspiration for how I wrote All You Could Ask For. Third on my list is Jonathan Tropper, who writes in a way that I relate to better than any current author; he is the American Hornby. Fourth I am going to list John Sandford, despite his being what some might call a guilty pleasure. I enjoy reading the Virgil Flowers thrillers as much as anything; I can't wait for the next one. Finally, I would list Jane Green, not only because she is a beautiful writer of fiction, but because she has cooked me more fabulous meals than I can count, and aside from one dessert I never let her forget they have all been delicious.
Book you've faked reading:
In college I was assigned to read Madame Bovary. I rented the movie instead. This is the first time I have admitted that. If Northwestern comes and takes my diploma away, I am going to be very upset.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella. I am addicted to golf, and any time I see a golfer struggling, throwing clubs into ponds for example, I recommend this work of genius by the ultimate sports psychologist. It has taken strokes off my handicap, and probably added years to my life.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I don't think I ever have.
Book that changed your life:
The World According to Garp by John Irving. I read it on a flight from Providence, R.I., to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1993. When we took off, I wanted to be a sportscaster. When we landed, I knew I had to at least try to be a writer.
Favorite line from a book:
"Amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was." --from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I read Animal Farm by George Orwell in eighth grade, and while I remember the overarching philosophy and plot I really don't have any recollection of the characters. My daughter is about the age where she is going to be assigned to read that book; I think I am going to read it with her.