Credit…Rebecca Clarke “I regret that I never met Hilary Mantel,” says the Booker-winning Scottish novelist, whose most recent book, “Young Mungo,” is now out in paperback. “I would be delighted with three of her.” What books are on your night stand? I've been itinerant lately, so I tend to carry my reading everywhere I go. Right now, I'm trying to make sense of the forces that misshaped me, so I'm reading “The Reformation: A History,” by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and “The Scottish Enlightenment,” by Arthur Herman. I'm dreaming of going back to 18th-century Edinburgh. In fiction, I'm loving the gastronomic dystopia of “Land of Milk and Honey,” by C Pam Zhang, and the perfectly crafted “Biography of X,” by Catherine Lacey. I've been trying to learn the art of the screenplay and to that end, I've been rereading the scripts for “The Hours” (adapted by David Hare from Michael Cunningham's novel) and “Prick Up Your Ears” (adapted by Alan Bennett from John Lahr's biography of Joe Orton). What's the last great book you read? “Old God's Time,” by Sebastian Barry, is truly superb. Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time? “The Leopard,” by Tomasi di Lampedusa, a tale of Sicilian society in decline. I asked a friend what her favorite book was and she recommended this. I knew once I'd read it that I had excellent taste in friends. Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how). A great book can make any reading experience ideal. I once hunkered down in my poky Florentine hotel and missed much of the city because I was so engrossed by Maria McCann's “As Meat Loves Salt.” It's a gutsy historical romance set during the English Civil War, about two conscripts who fall in and then violently out of love. What's your favorite book no one else has heard of? I am fascinated by the irredeemable hero at the center of Alexander Trocchi's “Young Adam.” It is a claustrophobic study in how men and women can use each other, a frank look at sex as a […]
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