Book Brahmin: Peter Farris

Peter Farris is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Cobb County, Ga. His first novel, the Southern noir thriller Last Call for the Living, is just out from Forge Books.

On your nightstand now:

A holstered Springfield XD 9mm, an alarm clock and a cat that goes by the name of Icky.

On the floor of your office now:

The To-Be-Read stacks are making it hard to walk in here. From where I'm sitting I can see UpGunned by David J. Schow--a superhumanly good postmodern gun porn satire with a wink and a nod to Donald Westlake's Parker series. One of the best novels I've read this year. I can also see nature writer/TV show host Steven Rinella's American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon; the Dorothy Allison memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure; A Single Shot by Matthew F. Jones; The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson; The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton; Into the Web by Thomas H. Cook; and Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers by Charlie Louvin with Benjamin Whitmer... which my old man finally returned to me.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Has to be a tie between I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Although I can remember being real young and thinking it didn't get any better than Nancy McArthur's The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks.

Your top five authors:

Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews, Larry Brown, Cormac McCarthy and Jack London.

Top five authors you'd want to get drunk with:

James Crumley, Joseph Wambaugh, Eudora Welty, Barry Hannah and William Gay.

Book you've faked reading:

The Bible.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I consider At the End of the Road by Grant Jerkins not only a fantastic literary thriller but one of the finest novels ever set in the state of Georgia. Thanks, praise and a strychnine toast should also go to John Rector, Frank Bill, Duane Swierczynski, Tom Franklin and Ron Rash for delivering truly inspired fiction upon us over the past few years.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Back in my thrash metal skater punk middle school days, I asked my Dad to get me Brian Lumley's Necroscope because the cover said: "You will like this." And I absolutely did.

Book that changed your life:

Without a doubt: Joe by Larry Brown. That novel showed me the possibilities. If I can write publishable fiction half as good as Joe, I'll be one satisfied author.

Favorite line from a book:

"I can understand why people jump off bridges."--from Facing the Music by Larry Brown.

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

Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews had about the same impact on me that Joe did. My paperback copy is underlined all to hell. I just flipped to the last page and saw this marked: "He fell into the boiling snakes, went under and came up, like a swimmer breaking water. For the briefest instant, he gained his feet. Snakes hung from his face." I don't think there are words to describe how I felt when I finished Feast of Snakes, other than the despair of knowing there is absolutely no way you can write something as good. But you've got to try anyway.


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