CALLED THE “best-read man in
America” by The Paris Review, Silver
Spring’s Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer
Prize-winning critic and longtime
book reviewer for The Washington Post.
His latest book, Browsings: A Year of
Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books
(Pegasus Books, 2015), is a collection of
50 essays on literary journalism, book
collecting and writers. So we figured
he’d be a good person to ask, “What’s on
your bedside table?”
“I do have a nightstand, but I’m
afraid I also have a heap of books on
the floor by my bed. One that I was just
rereading is called Memorable Days:
The Selected Letters of James Salter and
Robert Phelps [Counterpoint, 2010].
Jim Salter was one of the greatest
American novelists. His close friend,
Robert Phelps, was a columnist for the
Herald Tribune and wrote a wonderful
book about [the French writer] Colette
called Earthly Paradise. These are the
best letters I know about what it’s like
to be two writers, talking about life as a
literary person in the 1960s—describing
they know, the
love, their own
fears. It’s just a
What’s on your
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