Twain's 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' made me long to wake in an era when my Casio wristwatch would strike folks as sorcery, and Martin Amis's 'Time's Arrow' wrecked my assumption that all narratives had to proceed from Then to More-Recently-Than-Then.

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

You and I can go on YouTube and learn how to fix a tractor engine or learn Farsi. Groups are using those tools to recruit young people into a climate of hatred.

'Never do the dishes without music,' my brother Mark once advised me - the same brother who once ate a spoonful of refrigerated dog food to escape his turn at the kitchen sink. And really, it may be the most sensible advice I've been given.

Sometimes my readers ask me what else they should read, and I recommend Sebald.

When I was a boy, all the books I owned fit on a single shelf. Now I have several thousand stacked around the house.

We live in a culture that venerates scores. We affix numbers to how much fat is in our mochachinos, how quickly our telephones suck information from the air, how much pain we're in. Reading, too, has become a skill to quantifiably assess.

Short stories are not maybe the biggest deal in our culture anymore.

Every artist wants an audience, and it's incredible to me how books take on a life of their own and reach people whom you could never meet. That's what got me interested in writing in the first place.

I kind of do all of this writing as a way of thinking and learning. I'm sure it's similar to being a journalist: You get to learn, and that's the greatest kind of job.

The most amazing gift about being a novelist is that you get to pursue your curiosity every day.

I found my first novel difficult. I don't want to make it sound like it's any more difficult than driving a cab or going to any other job, but there are so many opportunities for self-doubt, that you just kind of need to soldier on.

Learned to read, and for a while as a kid, you think books are just leaves on trees. Then suddenly, you think a human being is making that, and maybe you could do that.

Pretty much every night of their lives, my 8-year-old sons have absorbed themselves entirely in books. As toddlers, they pointed out pictures, made conjectures; lately, we find them in their bunk beds embarked upon two-hour comic-reading benders.

The only books I give up on are texts where the writer's attention is concentrated so heavily on narrative questions that his or her use of language becomes careless.

Travel definitely affects me as a writer.