Literary Hub

Alexander McCall Smith: In Praise of W.H. Auden

Alexander McCall Smith, best known for the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, sees his latest book, My Italian Bulldozer, hit American shelves today.

What was the first book you fell in love with?
When I was a very young boy I had a book called Ginger’s Adventures. It was all about a dog that fled from a life of pampered luxury to go and live on a farm. I loved it when the dog made it to the country. I recently found a copy of this book and was delighted to discover that I remembered virtually every word of it.

Name a classic you feel guilty about never having read?
I must read Moby Dick. I may have started it when I was much younger—I can’t remember. Like almost everyone, I can quote the first line.

What’s the book you reread the most and why?
I often turn to W.H. Auden’s Collected Shorter Poems. Auden was a magnificent poet, a wise and humane voice. I think he was the finest poet in the English language for many centuries.

Is there a book you wish you had written and why? 
I rather wish that I had written Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey series. There are wonderful maritime historical novels, full of information about ideas of science and the world at the time. They are also a beautiful depiction of friendship.

Originally published in Literary Hub.

Interese conexe

Mai multe de la Literary Hub

Literary Hub25 min citite
A New Story By Rachel Kushner: “The Mayor of Leipzig”
Cologne is where cologne comes from. Did you know that? I didn’t. This story begins there, despite its title. I had flown to Cologne from New York, in order to meet with my German gallerist—Birgit whose last name I can’t pronounce (and is also the na
Literary Hub1 min citite
WATCH: Reyna Grande in Conversation with John Freeman
Click below to watch the virtual meeting of the Alta California Book Club, which Books Editor of Alta Journal David Ulin describes as: an opportunity for us to rethink the book club as a kind of ongoing process involving events, involving posts and i
Literary Hub3 min citite
Does the Simon & Schuster Acquisition Signal an Antitrust Crisis in Publishing?
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequenc