Book Brahmin: Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore's new book, Sacré Bleu (Morrow, April 3, 2012), is a romp through Belle Epoch Paris, where Toulouse-Lautrec and Lucien Lessard open an artist's Pandora's Box while trying to solve the murder of their friend Vincent van Gogh. Moore is the author of 12 other novels covering topics from Shakespeare's King Lear to cetacean biology. He was born and raised in Ohio, and now divides his time between San Francisco and Hawaii. When he's not writing, Moore enjoys ocean kayaking, scuba diving, photography and sumi-e ink painting.

On your nightstand now:

Raylan by Elmore Leonard; Shylock, A Legend & Its Legacy by John Gross.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss or The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary or The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, depending on what size kid.

Your top five authors:

John Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Kurt Vonnegut, Carson McCullers and William Butler Yeats.

Book you've faked reading:

Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre. I used to crib quotes from it and walk around all clench-jawed and angsty, while wearing a long coat, but I actually never read it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. It's an epistolary novel about a kid writing to a baseball player during World War II to try to get him to hit a home run for him on the radio. It's hilarious. A sales rep from the publisher forced it on me several times after I tried to chuck it at a trade show, but he kept picking it up and giving it back to me. I read it, and it turned out to be one the funniest things I'd read in 10 years. Really a joy, and I wasn't a baseball guy.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I used to buy a lot of books for the covers when I was in my teens. I bought a whole series of H.P. Lovecraft books because they had extraordinarily creepy covers. I fancied myself a horror-story writer in those days, so creepy was good.

Book that changed your life:

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. It taught me about narrative voice and the power of having a forgiving attitude toward one's characters.

Favorite line from a book:

"All human actions are equivalent and all are on principle doomed to failure." --Jean Paul Sartre from Being and Nothingness (probably).

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

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