Brontez Purnell Insists on Phoning Writers He Admires

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

It could only be in fantasy scenarios. Like everyone else, my attention span is garbage. And long-form reading? OMG — it takes a MUSCLE these days! I don’t trust people who say they read eight books a week. LIAR!!! That’s not reading! That’s composting word salad! Also, I get too distracted by words. No matter how “ideal” the setting. One true sentence feels like a bump of a very expensive drug — it totally sends me into a transcendental state!

But back to the fantasy scenarios. I have often wondered what it would be like to read in a zero-gravity environment. Or in the gardens of Versailles, pre-revolution.

Do you count any books as guilty pleasures?

’60s and ’70s smut literature.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

The newspaper is the only thing I read that makes me cry.

The last book that made you furious?

The newspaper is the only thing I read that makes me furious.

The most terrifying book you’ve ever read?

“Roots,” by Alex Haley. (Does it count as “reading” if I mostly skimmed it? It was brutal!)

Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — working today do you admire most?

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