Jonathan Yardley is a Washington, D.C.-based book critic and author.
Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited; Monday Morning Quarterback; Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley
1981 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?
Silly question, since none of them reads books, but: The Great Gatsby and Sister Carrie.
Who in your childhood—for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?
My parents. The Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester, Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington, The Story of a Bad Boy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most important to you as a writer?
The novels of Victorian England—Dickens, Thackeray, Austen, the Brontes—and, more recently, the novels of Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, E.M. Forster, Anita Brookner, William Boyd, P.G. Wodehouse. From Canada, Mordecai Richler.