What were your favorite books as a child? Did you have a favorite character or hero?
I was a very un-literary child, which might reassure parents with kids who don’t read. Lego was my thing, as well as practical books like “See Inside a Nuclear Power Station.” It wasn’t till early adolescence that I saw the point of books and then it was the old stalwart, “The Catcher in the Rye,” that got me going. By 16, I was lost ”” often in the philosophy aisles, in a moody and melodramatic state. I was impressed by Kierkegaard’s claim that he was going to read only “writings by men who have been executed.”
What books had the greatest influence on you when you were a student?
The French essayist Roland Barthes was, and in many ways continues to be, my greatest influence.