TPQ: What are you currently reading?
DG: Don Quixote, which I am trying to struggle through in the original. Very daunting to consider the tiny part that I've read and the brick that's to be gotten through before it's behind me. At least it's funny. Oh, and From Hell, by Alan Moore. My god he took the story seriously.
TPQ: Best book you have ever read?
DG: It's hard for me to even begin to frame the question in my mind of which is the best fiction book I have read. Not used to methodical reading I am impressed at times out of all proportion by a straightforward book, like The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Incredibly good read. I kept circling around different books but this kept coming back to mind. A study in the amoral exercise of power. Depending on any kind of random factors there are fifty books that I could plausibly say are "the best" but today it's Puzo.
TPQ: A must-read before you die?
DG: Slaughterhouse 5 by K. Vonnegut and Junky by W.S. Burroughs. And the Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy series. These recommendations haven't changed since I was in my late teens. Terry Pratchett is a recent addition but I am confident that he'll have his followers lauding him for years to come.
Of course many people can and do become very well-read, more so than I, without touching any of my recommendations, and in a different time and situation I might make a totally different selection.
TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?
DG: My tastes have changed over the course of life. I have much more time for non-fiction these days. But when times are challenging I often read for escapism.
TPQ: Favourite female author?
DG: Sue Townsend is a genius. In Irish, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is very impressive. Dorothy Parker, Flannery O'Connor. One of those.
TPQ: Favourite male author?
DG: Vonnegut. Such a gift. Always a delight.
A Berlin Book Tower in memory of the Nazi book burning.
TPQ: First book you ever read?
DG: Roald Dahl, the Twits comes to mind. Don't know if this is accurate but it is certainly one of the early ones, unless you want to include children's books. I could ask my mother and I bet she'd laugh and tell me the real first one.
TPQ: Favourite childhood author?
DG: Roald Dahl.
TPQ: Any book you point blank refuse to read?
TPQ: Any author you point blank refuse to read?
TPQ: Pick a book to give to somebody so that they would more fully understand you.
DG: My only blank. If I understood myself I wouldn't read books for clues.
TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?
DG: The Misogynous President.
TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?
DG: The Táin.
⏭ Diarmuid O Gruagain is a Dublin based civil servant.