READERSVOICE.COM: From your comics Confessions of a Book Fiend; Stray Books; Haruki Murakami Bingo; and your references to the Lovecraft Prize for Zombie Fiction, jazz poet Langston Hughes, and magical realism, you must read a lot. What are some key books you’ve really liked over the years, and any not so well known books you’ve liked, fiction or not?
GRANT SNIDER: I devoured all of Haruki Murakami’s fiction about 5 years ago – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and his short story collections were my favorite. In a similar supernatural vein, I love the books of Kelly Link as well. [Kelly Link is a fantasy short story writer and publisher. Her latest book is Get in Trouble (2016).]
Poetry and picture books are what I read most frequently (my attention span is horrible lately, plus I have three small children). Billy Collins and Kay Ryan are contemporary poets whose work I admire for its humor and clarity.
Tomi Ungerer‘s picture books from (mostly from the 1960s) fascinate me and terrify my kids. Ungerer has tremendous attention to detail in his drawings and a subversive yet classic manner of storytelling.
One relatively unknown book that means a lot to me is Zero Makes Me Hungry: A Collection of Poems for Today, edited by Edward Lueders and Primus St John. It might appear to be a book of poems for children, but contains serious poetry about death, love, religion, and everything in between. I found it randomly at my public library then bought it for $0.01 (plus shipping) online. It makes me want to create thoughtful, beautiful work that reflects the experience of being a person on earth.
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– copyright Simon Sandall