Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

I mean, what's your favourite modern book?

Oh, that's altogether tougher.

"Modern" is a term than can be applied to everything since the Renaissance. So the first novel, arguably Don Quixote, written in the early 1600s, may be considered a modern novel.

But, by your question, I'm assuming you mean from the twentieth century.

My favourite writing of this recent period may be The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Or maybe For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The Great Gatsby is up there. All Quiet on the Western Front. Catcher in the Rye. Oh, and there's Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, the great Maxim Gorky....

It depends which one I've read or reread most recently.

I tend to like Russian and British literature of the nineteenth century for their intensely involving, panoramic views of the world, and American novels of the 1920s and 1930s for their energy and directness.

And sometimes I get the greatest enjoyment from a Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett private eye story. Or a noir tale from James M. Cain. Or a classic science fiction thriller....

I also like short stories by Canadian writers Morley Callaghan, Hugh Garner, Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant, and by Americans John O'Hara, Fitzgerald and Hemingway again, and Dorothy Parker.

Each time I read one of these I think, "Oh, this is my favourite modern writer."

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