Book Keeping: A Reader's Community

Book Keeping with Toby Barlow


What’s one book you return to over and over again?

I’m always thinking about David Foster Wallace’s essays A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and I’m always obsessing over Barry Hannah’s Bats Out of Hell.

What book would you consider an ‘ancestor’ of your own most recent FSG book and why?

The Master and Margarita is probably the book with the strongest link.

What’s one book you’ve tried to finish but couldn’t?

Cryptonomicon, though I keep trying. I know it’s me. It’s my problem.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

HHhH by Laurent Binet.

What’s your favorite indie bookstore?

My favorite indie used book store in Detroit is called King Books. It’s a fantastic destination. Everyone within 500 miles of Detroit should come visit it. But as far as new books go, I’m a sucker for City Lights. I mean, come on, it’s ridiculously great.

What are you reading now?

The Inferno. The Hollanders’ translation.

What is the first book you ever remember reading (or having read to you)?

The first book I can recall reading was Ant & Bee, which is a rudimentary British children’s story.

What’s one book that ended up different from what you expected, whether for better or for worse?

Tom Jones was a book where the ending made me literally jump up and down. I was on an Amtrak train, somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, and I was just hopping up and down the aisle. That’s the only book that ever made me react so strongly.

TOBY BARLOW is the author of Babayaga and Sharp Teeth. He lives in Detroit.

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