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Great writers are great readers. And they have amazing stories to tell. Not just about the books they write, but about the books they read.
Anne Strainchamps and the producers behind “To the Best of Our Knowledge” have been asking authors for years to tell a story about that one book that left a mark. A book they can’t forget. A book that changed everything.
Now they’re sharing their stories with you, delivered in a weekly micro-podcast. New bite-sized episodes every Friday.
Tommy Orange says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole showed him a path to writing a novel that was truly his own.
Author Megan Stielstra tells the story of how she first crossed paths with "The Chronology of Water," Lidia Yuknavitch's award-winning memoir — the anti-memoir that broke new ground for speaking with candor about the joy and the pain of living.
How does a hummingbird survive in subzero winter temperatures? Why endure them at all? Author T.C. Boyle couldn’t understand why the small bird would be anywhere near his mountain writing retreat, but he found the answer in Bernd Heinrich’s “Winter World.”
Laurence Jackson Hyman, son of the famed horror author Shirley Jackson, recommends her 1962 classic tale for its scares, suspense, and strangeness.
The horror and fantasy novelist recommends a chilling pair of ghost stories from Paul Tremblay that flip genre conventions on their head.
The author of "The Sympathizer" recommends António Lobo Antunes' novel.
The author of "Borne" and the Southern Reach Trilogy recommends Richard House's novel about soldiers tasked with burning waste in the remote reaches of Iraqi desert.
The author of "Borne" and the Southern Reach Trilogy recommends Phillippe Claudel novel about a small town murder and the winding investigation into the culprit.
What was a favorite childhood story? What do you think it reveals about you?
Has a book ever precipitated a life-changing realization, about yourself or someone else?
Is there a book you’ve hated – but can’t stop thinking about?
Is there a book that’s shaped your spiritual life — that opened a door to a new reality?
Has a book ever sparked a personal passion or obsession?
What book have you reread more than any other? Why?
Is there a book you consider a talisman, or a sacred object?