Writers on Reading: paulo da costa
What book is currently on your bedside table?
I read several books concurrently. On my night table I always build a leaning Tower of Pisa made of books. I am reading Saunders, Dobozy, Galeano, Tranströmer, Ian Williams, J. Vigna, J. Donaldson, Shaun Tan, Mia Couto, Jori Graham and more.
When and where do you like to read?
Outdoors, in nature, preferably near moving water… otherwise in bed, preferably still.
What was the last great book you read?
Several come to mind. Out Stealing Horses-Per Petterson, Cloud Atlas-Mitchell, The Lizard Cage-Karen Connely, Blindness-Saramago, The Book of Chameleons –Agualusa.
Was there a book that changed your life? How old were you and what changed?
The Travels of Marco Polo, when I was nine-years-old. It irredeemably set in motion my lifelong appetite for travel and first showed me the cultural subjectivity in every held belief.
Is there one book in particular that made you want to write?
Two. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera and The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende.
Were you an early reader or did you come to it late? Did you grow up around books?
The habit of reading books was not cultivated in my home, and there were very, very few books around. I sought books out on my own in the local library.
What were your favourite books as a child?
The Famous Five and the Mystery Series by Enid Blyton were my favourite books as a child.
What are your reading habits? Paper or e-reader?
Paper only, thus far.
Have you ever argued with a book?
Often. I enjoy intelligently controversial books that set out to challenge many of our blind spots and assumptions. They keep me from falling into the comforts of apathy.
What was the last book you put down without finishing?
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. Many books I begin reading fall in that category. Every week I put down books which did not keep my interest going. From Murakami to Pamuk. From Chabon to Bolaño
Do you remember a book you were tempted to give up on and were glad you didn’t?
What’s next on your reading list?
Everything I am yet to read… beginning with East of the West by Miroslav Penkov, The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco and A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver.