I have never done this before, but I will admit it was kind of fun. Nearly every weekend, as part of the weekend programming for Book TV, C-SPAN features a live in-depth, three hour discussion with an author. Today’s discussion was with Simon Winchester, an author of narrative nonfiction whom I greatly admire. Well, I called. And you know what? They took my call.
As I said, I have never called to be a part of any call-in show before, so I was a bit nervous. But I think I made it through without any obvious gaffes. I think my call was used as a setup to speak about Mr. Winchester’s reading habits. Had I gone to Book TV’s site before making my call, I would have seen that they had already asked what he was currently reading, about his favorite books, and who his favorite authors were. But of course, I didn’t know that. Nonetheless, the television program had not shared this information with viewers yet, so my call worked as a nice transition to some graphics listing Winchester’s favorites. Happy to oblige.
Here is that list of Simon Winchester’s favorites. Book TV’s brief bio, in case you are unfamiliar with Simon Winchester: “He is the author of many books, including “The Professor and the Madman” and “Krakatoa.” Trained as a geologist, he later became a foreign correspondent for the Guardian and the Sunday Times, based in Belfast, New Delhi, New York, London, and Hong Kong. Mr. Winchester has written for Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines. A complete list of Mr. Winchester’s books follows: “In Holy Terror” (1974), “American Heartbeat” (1976), “Their Noble Lordships” (1982), “Prison Diary”(1983), “Stones of Empire” (1984), “Outposts” (1985), “The Sun Never Sets” (1986), “Korea” (1988), “Pacific Rising” (1991), “Pacific Nightmare” (1992), “Hong Kong” (1992), “Small World” (photographer, 1995), “The River at the Center of the World” (1996), “The Professor and the Madman” (1998), “The Fracture Zone” (1999), “The Map That Changed the World” (2001), “A House Somewhere” (contributor, 2002), “The Kindness of Strangers” (contributor, 2003), “The Meaning of Everything” (2003), and “Krakatoa” (2003).”