Sara Paretsky is a Chicago-based essayist, short story writer and novelist.
Indemnity Only, Deadlock, Blood Shot, Blacklist, Fire Sale, Body Work, Breakdown
1987 Ms. magazine’s Woman of the Year Award, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (Writing in an Age of Silence)
Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?
The Virginian and Huckleberry Finn probably sum up the vision Americans like to have of themselves, but I think a different, fuller picture could be drawn, of America and of Chicago, by reading Gwendolyn Brooks. Bronzeville is a good place to start, although it is her early work. Maya Angelou speaks to contemporary readers in a powerful and authentic voice.
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 older brother taught me to read when I was four. My mother was a constant reader; to us, to herself, and the habit became central to all of my siblings and myself as we grew up. The Laura Ingalls Wilder series and Little Women were my hands-down childhood favorites.
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?
Ratushinskaya's Grey is the Color of Hope, the whole oeuvres of Dickens, Eliot, Gaskell and Austen, and Democracy in America. David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel are two contemporary writers I greatly admire. I like Daniel Pennac's quirky voice. Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, and Howard Engel.