The Book that Changed my Life:  Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists, ed. Diane Osen, 2002

An interesting compendium of interviews with 15 authors who had been winners or nominees for the National Book Award.  To my surprise, I was not acquainted with several of them—Charles Johnson, Diane Johnson, and Daniel Levering Lewis.  The interviews were spotty, some very interesting when focused on the title topic while others drifted off into details about writers’ lives and childhoods that I didn’t find very interesting.  I was impressed that four of the authors had died since publication of the book—Doctorow, Robert Stone, Philip Levine, and Grace Paley.  The most interesting feature was the list of books at the end of each interview.  Some lists are labelled ‘books the author enjoyed’, ‘shaped her writing’, ‘changed her life’, ‘made a deep impression’, and then Doctorow who didn’t list any.  Fascinating group of works with several standing out as repeaters:  Victory by Joseph Conrad, Hemingway, Faulkner, Woolf, USA by John dos Passos, Fitzgerald, Moby Dick, D.H. Lawrence, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and James Joyce.  Not a bad list!