Book Nook: The Heavenly Table, by Donald Ray Pollock

Sep 20, 2017

As I am interviewing authors I am always trying to think of the best questions to ask them. I want to keep things fresh and that can be a challenge. A number of years ago I interviewed C-Span's Brian Lamb. As the host of that network's Book TV program Lamb has distinguished himself as one of the best prepared author interviewers around. Like me, he's accustomed to being the one who is asking the questions. He seemed slightly uncomfortable with having that role reversed. He's a rather private man and I could tell that he wasn't thrilled to be the one under the microscope having to answer my questions. For interviewers there can be a fine line between doing our jobs and being intrusive.

Almost every day I am approached by people who listen to this show. Frequently they will ask me questions. The most common one is: "have you read any good books lately?" Fortunately, that's easy to answer because I can always reply in the affirmative, "yes, I have read a lot of good ones." Then we usually chat about some of the recent titles that I have enjoyed.

Then there are the other questions; the ones I find it difficult to answer. Here are some common questions that I cannot answer: "What is your favorite book?" I have too many favorites to choose just one. Also, "what was your favorite interview?" That's another difficult one. I have had many favorites. Then there's the toughest question of all for me; "who is your favorite author?" I have never been able to answer that question. Until now.

Recently I decided that I do have a favorite living author. I'm at the point in my life where I'm willing to make that statement. Of course I can always change my mind but I have given it a lot of thought and I have recently acknowledged to myself that there's one author who I would choose. And I'm willing to say in public who that author is!

His name is Donald Ray Pollock. I love his books. He has a great story about how he became a writer. He's also one of the nicest guys I have ever met. His latest novel "The Heavenly Table" just came out in paperback. Don has published three books and I have interviewed him six times. As you listen to this interview I hope you will get a sense of why I am now willing to declare that Don is my favorite living writer.

The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library,  Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.